All Commentary
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

As Long As People Are Free, There Will Be Inequality

Free people make different choices. This inevitably leads to different outcomes.

If there’s something that progressives agree on, it’s that inequality exists and that it’s a problem. But what do we mean when we say “inequality”? Is it that some people have more “stuff” (money, goods, access to services) than others? Is it that some people are more skilled, more talented, better looking, or just plain luckier than others? In a relatively free society with fairly consistent equality of opportunity, the result is inevitably going to be inequality of outcome. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. Why is a certain amount of inequality a good thing? Should we care about numerical inequality indicators such as the GINNI index? Should we take legislative action to “level the playing field”? Join James Harrigan and Antony Davies as they talk about this and more on this week’s episode of Words and Numbers.

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Quick Hits

Seattle’s tax on jobs

France bans throwing away unsold clothing

France bans throwing away unsold food

Foolishness of the Week

Hillary Clinton wants to be Facebook’s CEO

Topic of the Week: Inequality

Federalist 10

Equality in the consumption of goods and services (1)

Equality in the consumption of goods and services (2)

Inequality rising over time

Taxes and transfers reduce income inequality by 25%

All the quintiles are getting richer

Much of the inequality we observe is due to differences in ages (Table H-10)

Income mobility across generations


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  • Dr. Antony Davies is an Associate professor of Economics at Duquesne University, and co-host of the podcast, Words & Numbers.

  • James R. Harrigan is a Senior Editor at the American Institute for Economic Research. He is also co-host of the Words & Numbers podcast.