From the Pittsburgh Tribune Review Donald Boudreaux writes Questions for redistribution’s proponents
• Suppose that Jones chooses a career as a poet. Jones treasures the time he spends walking in the woods and strolling city streets in leisurely reflection; his reflections lead him to write poetry critical of capitalist materialism. Working as a poet, Jones earns $20,000 annually. Smith chooses a career as an emergency-room physician. She works an average of 60 hours weekly and seldom takes a vacation. Her annual salary is $400,000. Is this “distribution” of income unfair? Is Smith responsible for Jones’ relatively low salary? Does Smith owe Jones money? If so, how much? And what is the formula you use to determine Smith’s debt to Jones?
• While Dr. Smith earns more money than does poet Jones, poet Jones earns more leisure than does Dr. Smith. Do you believe leisure has value to those who possess it? If so, are you disturbed by the inequality of leisure that separates leisure-rich Jones from leisure-poor Smith? Do you advocate policies to “redistribute” leisure from Jones to Smith — say, by forcing Jones to wash Smith’s dinner dishes or to chauffeur Smith to and from work? If not, why not?
Read more: http://triblive.com/opinion/donaldboudreaux/5283716-74/jones-smith-income#ixzz2qBeM8gJo
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook
The argument for redistribution often assumes that citizens are only objects subject to the whims of capitalism, and not subjects whose own decisions have impacts on their own lives. It is true that many fall victim to bad fortune and probability, but many are victims of their actions and choices. Should we distinguish between these two group, and how should we do it?