Monday, August 4, 2008

Bearing a distinct resemblance to Mr Scrooge

Polly Toynbee and David Walker's fascinating look at how rich Britons view other people provides an equally fascinating look at how two leftist journalists view rich people. It's hard to say who comes out the worse: the sheltered super-rich who have no idea about the economic realities for poor people, or the journalists whose idea of cultural anthropology is to list the ways in which the subject culture is inferior to their own. Why, those barbarians don't even believe in progressive taxation! It's a meeting of bubbles. Now, it's curious how even some people who like capitalism see extreme wealth as the essense of it, as if there's some sort of invisible hand that goes about rewarding brilliant people with loads of money. Nah. Extreme wealth is a byproduct of capitalism, mostly incidental to its usefulness, not quite in the same way that excrement is a byproduct of eating, but let's go with that metaphor: You still want to eat. The mistake of the Toynbee-type of leftist is not to say that the system needs to be monitored or adjusted, but to base decisions that affect everyone on their moral distaste for a tiny minority. Smart leftists realize that economics is something that happens between ordinary people. (Even smarter leftists become market liberals, but hey..) And if you do wish to provide a critique of the super-wealthy, remember that you're to the world's poorest as your country's richest are to you. How well do you compare?



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