Sunday, July 23, 2017

Base Inequality

Consumption inequality bothers me far more than wealth or income inequality. Even then, base inequality more than than total consumption. If one person having extra stops someone else from having the basics. Conspicuous consumption is when someone peacocks how well off they are in the face of other peoples' struggles. If they are consuming some luxury good that is only expensive because it is rare, not because it is essential, then they can crack on. That is a stupidity tax. Have as many gold studs on your phone as you want. It is still a phone.  Inequality in general doesn't concern me if people are not held back. Conspicuous hoarding is when excess is held for personal use, but not even used. Don't have 10 spare bedrooms, and have daily baths, if you live in Cape Town. That is Scrooge McDuck style pools of wealth. The wonder of capitalism means that wealth held in that style also gets a stupidity tax through lost opportunities. Most wealth nowadays if held in businesses, is not hoarded. It is doing stuff. Until everyone has the basics, the question remains - is it doing at least enough of the right stuff.

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