Revisiting the topic of "economic injustice", with examples

Friday, 29 November, Year 5 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

The most famous nonproblem to preoccupy economists of all times (past WW2) and all places (in the West) - so really, not very many people at all and not terribly important people at that - is the notion of "fairness" and "justice" as misrepresented by idiots. Even von Mises makes the mistake of entertaining this sort of nonsense, much to the detriment of his own good name.

The situation at hand is, poor guy (which means stupid) comes to rich guy (which means smart), wishing to know why should it be that the stupid are poor, now as ever, and why should it be that the smart are rich, like all smart guys always arei. This is clearly unfair!ii

What's smart guy to do ? He could try and explain, perhaps, that the very definition of idiocy is an inability to distinguish the like from the unlike, with the direct application that the stupid can't discern between someone who's stupid and someone who's smart. That happens to be the very definition of smart, the ability to discern between smart and stupid.iii Obviously the stupid won't then be able to make that same distinction, this isn't exactly rocket logic over here.

He could try and explain anything he wishes, but to the blind a large enough amphora and a conveniently erroded bit of limestone are the same thing, and besides - this is clearly unfair, this is clearly the result of luck on one side and misfortune on the other, this is clearly a case that calls for many exclamation points, much indignation and emotional turmoil and really, why should it be that there even exists difference in this world in the first place ?

Why can't we all be blind, and not see, and then not be bothered by things such as the distinction between an amphora and a conveniently erroded bit of limestone ? Wouldn't we all be happier then ? Think about it, if nobody bothered to distinguish between a piece of rotten meat infested with maggots and prime Argentinian beef or a nice hunk of Bluefin then we could save so much time and effort! And also reduce inequality!iv

Does it really need to be explained that stupidity exactly is a blindness of the mind, and thus it significantly and irreparably reduces the world one may apprehend ? What's to explain, what more's to say ? If the stupid could rightly apprehend the difference between them and the rich, they wouldn't be poor anymore, nor would they be stupid. But they can't. This is why they aren't anything else, this is why they aren't going to be anything else.v

There's really nothing to explain or to justify here. He who does not understand why others are rich while he is not, he who does not understand what all the other "lucky bastards" did right (we're not even going to touch on the tender, festered gangrene of the "what he did wrong" topic) is in receipt of his answer by that very fact! Once he understands he'll no longer have this problem.

Definitely no rocket logic required.

  1. Everyone must have money to exist. This fundamental imperative divides all humans that ever were, and all humans that ever will be into two classes : they who make money as they can and they who make money as they wish.

    The poor make money as they can : this job or that, whatever employment they may find and might want them. They may have a trade, but if they do it's marginally theirs - it's more the case they are the trade's, like machinists are more the biological appendages of the machine than the makers of machines. Should it ever have to be changed, that change will be imposed upon them from without, against their ineffectual protestations, much to their chagrin.

    The rich make money as they wish : if one day their current trade bores them, or if another day a different trade seems more appealing there they are, making money this way or that or whichever way they please. It's not that they have a trade, they have numerous, and definitely in their possession, which you can tell by that they're holding the authority to change for all future the very way any one trade works.

    It's true that through some twist of fate or splash of moral hazard some live a life in which they never get to know which side they fall upon. This has no bearing on the point at hand, nor is their situation at all enviable. The egg that dares not hatch for fear it may discover it's not a very good chicken at all can not be said to be any kind of chicken whatsoever, not even a very bad one. []

  2. Here it is. Read it, for it contains many laughs. []
  3. Really, what did you think it was ? Getting the Nobel Smartypants Award ? Coming up with a new formula for feeding stray kittens ? Don't be silly, it will obviously have to be internal, no pile of awards, certificates and diplomas can in any conceivable way turn sour milk into fresh cream. Any cat reading a calendar can stumble on the Schroedinger equations scribbled across (through a misprint), but it takes Schroedinger to recognise them for what they are. []
  4. A 222 kg fish sold for ~2mn recently, thats 8k a kg for the people keeping score at home. Isn't this really unfair, when you consider the legitimate hopes and aspirations of all other hunks of fish all over the world ? Why should albacore never see the outside of a tuna can while some other fish is living it large in Japan ? []
  5. Sure, "education" is the great leveller, or so they claim. Nothing could be further than the truth, in fact : education is the means through which the smart among the poor raise to their own station, leaving behind their stupid brethren. In terms of the blindness metaphore, the curable are cured, and once cured they are no longer blind. This does exactly nothing for the congenitally blind, nor does it do anything for they who do not particularly wish to be cured, or could not be arsed to even apply the cure. Again no rocket logic going on at all.

    As an aside, this may explain to you why education has so degenerated in the US, about in proportion to the flourishing of socialism in that place. And to make immortal a great illustration on the topic,

    The act of correcting a black student was “micro-aggression,” according to the members of the student group “Call 2 Action: Graduate Students of Color,” which launched a sit-in
    ~via DailyBruin

    So-called undegrads that can't spell, defending their perceived right to remain ignorant of basic literacy. So explain it to them, why is it that they're poor again ?

Category: 3 ani experienta
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4 Responses

  1. Ceaushescu`s avatar
    Friday, 29 November 2013

    I think you are underestimating the economists a bit. "Economic injustice" is not about stupid people vs smart people. It's not about geniuses either. Geniuses deserve to get rich, and most people accept that.

    "Economic injustice" is about how to make sure that your population as a whole promotes *value* as opposed to inheritance. That means to make sure that rich people cannot trap currently poor people in a perpetuum slavery. They can certainly do that, and no amount (or too much) intelligence / value can overcome that.

    Why is slavery bad? Well, let's just say that the societies which used that are no longer around...

    Of course, the discourse is not as strong. But even a bit of injustice and trapment, can delay promoting value in a society by too much.

    my 2 cents.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 30 November 2013

    That means to make sure that rich people cannot trap currently poor people in a perpetuum slavery. They can certainly do that, and no amount (or too much) intelligence / value can overcome that.

    Restated like that it's certainly unassailable. No need to argue it further.

    The problems spring up once one notices that in this sense democracy is perhaps the worst possible arrangement, being the one system where the incentives to deny competence are strongest.

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