I’m starting the critique of Dr.D’s paper today simply through an examination of the introduction, setting the scene.

Introduction

Although income inequality appears to be a fact of life there remains general agreement that there should be such a thing as social justice, if this is given to mean at least an approximation to equality of potential achievement.

The definition from wikipedia:

Social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality and involves a greater degree of economic egalitarianism through progressive taxation, income redistribution, or even property redistribution. These policies aim to achieve what developmental economists refer to as more equality of opportunity than may currently exist in some societies, and to manufacture equality of outcome in cases where incidental inequalities appear in a procedurally just system.

Social Justice, means redistribution, via government, to create this egalitarianism. This egalitarianism has a purpose. That purpose is to promote the acceptance of government by the majority. Government being a minority requires acceptance through the majority to exercise its coercive power, to have this power accepted as a positive, rather than the coercive theft that it actually is. This social justice is simply one tool, propaganda, by which government creates this acceptance.

Redistribution simply does not work. Further it is always coercive, much of the time it involves theft. Redistribution, claiming to be social justice, in point of fact can be no such thing when it relies on coercion and theft to accomplish its aims. Redistribution occurs primarily through the tax system, but can also be created through subsidies, tariffs, regulation, and of course inflation which is outright theft. To claim the ethical high ground via the violation of ethical practice is simply nonsense.

This apparent incompatibility can only be reconciled if money income is neither the only measure of human well-being and fulfilment nor the only means to achieving it. Yet it may well be that the fundamentals of the global financial and economic system are such as inevitably to both widen income inequality and also to increase the importance of money in achieving individual well-being and happiness.

The use of ‘money’ as a metric for measuring in a quantitative manner ‘individual well-being and happiness’ is fraught with difficulties, as will be seen later in the paper as the research is presented as evidence in support of this statement.

In this paper I intend to demonstrate this in two ways. Firstly I suggest how particular changes in economic circumstances are likely to affect different groups of individuals based on our knowledge of the relationship between human well-being and income levels.

We are treated to an almost Marxian class system analysis by which the author demonstrates his thesis.

I go on to extrapolate the likely socioeconomic consequences of this. Secondly I will look at the economic and social data over a particular time of marked economic change in the UK, the period roughly between 1980 and 1995, to show that the extrapolation made in the first section appears to be true. On the assumption that these hypotheses continue to be supported by the empirical evidence, I suggest how the trends toward inequality and the increased importance of money might be ended or even reversed.

As this paper was written in 1998 and the data was from 1980 to 1995 essentially there is no way of appraising whether the data was mined first and a theory constructed around the data, or, the theory formulated, and the data then collected, and applied to the theory.

We can now however, look at the theory as stated, and refer to the data subsequent to the paper being written: thus we can look at the same data statistics from 1999 to 2011 and compare the results. I haven’t actually done this yet, I have been more interested in working my way through the theory, but I shall definitely do so in the future.

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