University of Chicago economist John Cochrane has written one of the most unique and insightful perspectives on inequality in his blog, The Grumpy Economist. Read Why and how we care about inequality in its entirety. It is about 6 pages long.
The most common argument is that we have to reduce income inequality to avoid political instability. If we don’t redistribute the wealth, the poor will rise up and take it. As a cause-and effect claim about human affairs, this is dubious amateur political science, one that would look especially amateurish to the political scientists and historians at this Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. Maybe the poor should rise up and overthrow the rich, but they never have. Inequality was pretty bad on Thomas Jefferson’s farm. But he started a revolution, not his slaves.