We work very hard (well, hardly work) at attempting to keep with the pulse of what's happening around the world every day, particularly in regards to our current economic and political state. As such we could not miss the barrage of propaganda going on since a while, all centered around a single word:
And so, we get all kinds of statements regarding the current economic situation and most of them are heavy on the socialist rhetoric, particularly around the "E" word. Typically you would hear something along the lines of:
The equality gap is widening.
Equality is only fair.
We need a new capitalism, one that provides equality.
"X" number of people control "Y" percentage of the world wealth and that prevents equality.
Equality has been decreasing steadily since…
And many others. You know which ones we mean. Yes. Those ones. And all this leads to a question… All those people, what have they been "doing"? Ah… yes… Socialism - The Most Addictive Drug. We keep forgetting.
THE CONCEPT OF EQUALITY
Before we dive into the topic of this one-sided conversation, it would be good to understand the topic we will be discussing: equality.
What is "equality"?
Any reasonable dictionary will define "equality" as:
The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.
However, this is not exactly what all those people touting equality mean. What they mean is Egalitarianism:
Doctrine or philosophy dictating that all people should be treated as equal and have the same political, economic, social and civil rights.
…with great emphasis on the economic side. If this would not be so, why is that they are always bitching against people with money? Of course! they mean Economic Egalitarism.
But what is Economic Egalitarism? It simply means the elimination of economic inequalities.
And how do we achieve this goal? By means of the famous (or infamous) "redistribution of wealth".
And how do we do this redistribution? By taxation, welfare, public services, land reform, monetary policies, confiscation, law or others. Basically it is an economy-wide forced transfer of wealth (i.e. tax) from those who have more to those who have less.
THE FAIRNESS OF EQUALITY
Fair enough, let's assume that we can, somehow, develop a mechanism that will make equality possible… if only we could decide how much money to give to every person. No. Don't laugh. This is not a trivial problem. Consider the following questions:
Should a single person get the same money as a married one?
How about an older versus a young one?
How about a sick versus a healthy one?
How about a woman versus a man?
How about a tall versus a short one?
See what we mean? Arguments can be made one way or another in either case.
And this is not even the tip of the iceberg. This is just the top molecule at the top of tip of the iceberg. This is so because the questions deepen.
What if, for example, we have a young person which is slightly sicker than an older person?
What if we have a person that lives in a slightly noisier house than the other person?
What if one person has a dog and the other one a cat?
What if one person is slightly more efficient at work than the other?
How about a blond versus a brunet? (sorry, we couldn't resist)
How about a person living in a red house versus a green one? Square versus round? Tall versus short? How about small versus large? Should all people have the large one or the small one? Or should we aim at an average size? And if so, average of what we have or what we could have? And if so, where? Zurich? Dodoma? (the capital of Tanzania)?
And so on.
The possibilities are limitless; just use your imagination.
The whole point is that it is not possible to determine numerically nor objectively what the term "equality" actually means. And if this is not possible, then how can we achieve this equality Nirvana of fairness? Because, you know, no matter how much money you may get from this "redistribution" you will always want more because you are "different", you are "special"… to yourself. Which is absolutely true!
The reality is that the whole thing is preposterous because the very notion of "equality" is a subjective one and therefore it can never be "fair". And how!
THE AVERAGE PERSON
But not to worry! The high priests (or priestess) of "equality" keep trying to dazzle you with statistical or numerical terms that actually make no sense. For example, they compare the average wage of a population against the wealth of the super-rich. Fine. But why the average? Do you know a person, any person, that is actually average, statistically speaking? Do you know somebody that has the exact average height, the average number of kids, the average age, the average diet and so on? Of course not! The average person does not exist. It is meaningless.
And why don't they compare the 6th quintile against the average? Or the wages of the semi-rich against the super-rich? Or the wages of the poor against the middle class?
Ah. But we can do the "majority" of the population against the super-rich. Fine. Now define "majority"? Is it 50% +1? 75%? Or 37.8674% + 32? See what we mean? What exactly, numerically speaking, does "average" means? The average of what? Because if we would to have to measure the "average" wages of a population, we would have to include the wages of the super-rich, which will show that the entire population is actually quite rich! Sounds ridiculous? It's not. It's statistics (try it, it's the effect that outliers cause).
Ah. So we then remove the super-rich from the average, right? Fine. Now define super-rich. Where is the line? What does it even mean being super-rich?
Ah. But if that does not work we can then do the "mean" which is the statistical measure of the expected value. For example, in a Gaussian distribution it would be the value at the top of the bell curve.
Fine. So we are now comparing the "mean" against the super-rich, right? But what about the poor then? Don't they count? And if they do, how do we define them? What is the meaning of "poor" in mathematical terms? Are they the ones below the "mean" and if so, how much "below" and why? Shouldn't we remove the ones close the median? And if so, how close? Or for that matter, how far? And if we don't do so and begin at the other extreme, how close do we need to get to the "median" before it becomes "too close"?
Ah. But we can take a different approach. We can calculate the minimum wealth necessary not to drop dead. We can define that as "poverty". Fine. But what about health care? What about nutrition? Shelter? Clothing? Shouldn’t we also consider these items? And if so, to what degree? Where do we stop? At which point do we define our definition of poverty "fair" and why? And will this be an objective measure? If so, how?
Because, you know, if they can't even define that, how can they expect to "equalize" wealth? Because you know, we wouldn't want to give too much wealth to poor people because that would push them over the "equality" line and into "rich" territory (see for example Means Testing).
The whole thing is, again, ridiculous.
Just because we can crunch numbers efficiently, this does not mean that those numbers make sense!
COMMUNISM IS NOT ECONOMIC EGALITARISM
It is precisely because of this issue; the impossibility of determining numerically what is "equality" that even communists (yeah… those guys in the USSR) stayed away from this term. Remember the famous Marx's saying of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs"… this does not sound like egalitarism. Communist ideologists beginning with Marx rejected egalitarism because they considered it an abstract and bourgeois concept. They believed in a classlessness society not in the subordination of society to a specific universal interest such as "equality". This is true if you take a look at the Communist manifesto and what it is that they demanded:
- Abolition of property and land and application of all rents of land to public purposes
- A heavy progressive or graduated income tax
- Abolition of all right to inheritance
- Confiscation of all property of all emigrants and rebels
- Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
- Centraliztion of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
- Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing of cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
- Equal liability of label. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
- Combination of agriculture with manufacturing; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country,
- Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination with education and industrial production.
As you can see, the emphasis is on destroying classes, not providing economic equality. Even the demand for a heavy tax is geared towards this point. More to the point; in the USSR there were no taxes; they didn't need them because according to them, they were already a single class (i.e. a proletariat).
The Communists also rejected equality for practical reasons. Even they recognized that high taxation for redistribution purposes in a freeish market creates a gigantic amount of contradictions in capitalism, contradictions which limits its capacity to produce because it decreases the incentive to invest in productive enterprises!
There is a lot to be said about an idea (and all of it bad) when even your most entrenched enemy believes it to be bunk!
The Communists themselves recognized that taxation in a capitalist system is actually counterproductive! Yet, our current socialistic gurus don't get it. Yes, those gurus who claim that they are the descendants of communism and are striving to achieve a better world through democratic socialism leading to… "equality"!!!
And so we arrive at the hearth of the article. Equality is now the modern equivalent to the cries of "Workers Unite" that made Communists famous. And with this cry comes the logistics of its implementation. As the ones clamoring for it are "democratic socialists" or "socialistic democrats" (BTW, what's the difference???) they are trapped.
Because on one hand they need to implement heavy progressive taxation. No, we are not talking about the concept of the more you earn the more you pay. We are talking about a taxation system that will get progressively more and more demanding… on everybody… as it is happening right now. Don't believe us? Just look around you. How many new taxes have showed up in your country during the last year along? How many times have the existing taxes been…optimized… upwards in the same amount of time? How much more are you paying in visible and hidden taxes? And if this is the case, why? Wasn't supposed to be that only rich people will be taxed? Do you consider yourself "rich"?
However, on the other hand, they cannot destroy the market because they are "democrats" and outright nationalization is equivalent to communism and people simply won't tolerate it.
Basically, robbery is OK as long as it increases slowly.
Yet, as Communists themselves discovered, this is a self-defeating strategy in that the more taxation pressure is applied the more it destroys the free market. As such, the less wealth can be extracted from said free markets and as such they must increase the taxation pressure… thus destroying more of the free market! See the problem? See the feedback loop?
At least in the USSR the Communists realized and even acknowledged (during certain periods, particularly in the end) that nationalized factories did not work efficiently nor effectively. They realized (very early on) that destroying the economy, whether public or private, was a bad idea to the point that they were obsessed with production quotas and production planning!
Yet, this new breed of socialists believe that they can extract an infinite amount of wealth forever from a shrinking (and progressively) devastated market!!!
It is precisely for these reasons that we call Equality the New Supercommunism; because it goes beyond Communism, beyond rationality and into La La Land (and we are not talking about the movie).
Look, this is not difficult. We are not saying that there isn't a great deal of poor people out there. There are. And this situation is intolerable. It is precisely for this reason that we are here. However, trying to solve this issue through "equality" is like trying to feed a tribe with meat obtained by killing the tribe's plough horse! It is downright stupid!... Not to say criminal.
But, then again, it is your choice and as such your decision. And since we are so helpful, we suggest an experiment so that you may experience "equality" in all its glory. Simple. Just donate all your earthly possessions to the dispossessed. You will be doing them a great service. Through your generosity and grandeur of spirit you will be helping them to become far, far more "equal" to the average citizen of your town, city or country. If you feel so strong about equality, we suggest you lead by example!
Why not? Equality seems like an excellent idea… until you try it...
Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.