January 11, 2007

O'Rourke on Wealth

P.J. O'Rourke on C-Span's In Depth said that the main economic error we make can be summed up in two words: "zero sum". As in "zero sum" game. As in wealth is like a pie and every slice you get is one slice I don't get. It isn't true, at least not anymore. He said it was once true and so it is understandable so many people get this wrong. It was true when land=wealth because there was a limited amount of land. But the Industrial Age changed all that and now wealth is not finite.

I'm often puzzled by those who are resentful of the rich and who are bothered by disparities of income. Disparity is minutiae, what counts is how much the poor have, whether their needs are met, and that the "floor" be as high as possible.

I suppose that for those of us living in a democracy disparity is intrinsically bothersome. We want everything "even-steven". Moving to the spiritual sphere, one of the Thomist's least popular positions is that God loves some more than others, i.e. those who he has predestined in a special way (such as the Theotokos). The disclaimer is that He loves everyone more than they could ever love themselves but it was interesting to reading commenters discuss/recuss that on Pontifications blog.

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