Equality is overrated.
In the built-in battle between “equality” and “freedom,” I side with freedom.
“Equality” would lower my status.
“Freedom,” if I wield it wisely, can raise it.
Michael Barone on Tyler Cowen’s new book:
Cowen predicts the masses won’t revolt. They will have comfortable lives and good entertainment — bread and circuses.
I suspect he’s right. America in the 1920s had more inequality than today and there was no revolution.
Inequality was then reduced by three unpredicted developments, two of them unwelcome.
The Depression of the 1930s reduced high and middle incomes. World War II ended unemployment and raised wages.
Wages rose in postwar America because labor was scarce (the 1930s birth dearth) and foreign competition imperceptible.
Those conditions ended around 1970. Inequality rose. Perhaps that’s the default mode.