My brother thinks that wealth should be redistributed. When we object that this will make people less likely to work hard and make everyone poor in the end, he responds that those who want to work only for recognition will still work (a tiny, tiny, minority I’m sure) and that it would be better if everyone were poor and starving and equal, than if some were richer because the poor and starving won’t know what they’re missing.
A whole slew of people are linking to this article by famous economist Thomas Sowell.
The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty. The communist nations were a classic example, but by no means the only example.
In theory, confiscating the wealth of the more successful people ought to make the rest of the society more prosperous. But when the Soviet Union confiscated the wealth of successful farmers, food became scarce. As many people died of starvation under Stalin in the 1930s as died in Hitler’s Holocaust in the 1940s. [Professor Sowell is referring to the forced collectivization of the Ukraine. If you want to inform yourself of the horrors thereof, I recommend Robert Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine, Oxford UP, 1986.]
How can that be? It is not complicated…
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