Saturday, October 20, 2012

No candidates

Inequality is a great question in election years.  People disagree passionately but never bother to try and agree on basic terms definitions.  Inequality of what? Looks?  Health? Longevity? Happiness? Wealth? Income? (One can go on.)

Most discussions focus on the latter two, but without bothering to be clear?  If income? Over just a one-year period?  Before or after taxes?  Count full compensation package (with perks? with in-kind transfers?)  Include changes in net worth?

Static or dynamic?  Count upward mobility chances?  Count access to opportunity?  How?

This will not be an election where any of these questions are addressed.  The candidates will continue to make vague claims about "fairness" and their unshakeable commitments to the "middle class" and similar banalities.

Or is meritocracy the most "fair"?  Is meritocracy most likely to result in growth?  Does growth take us away from the focus on envy?  Benjamin Friedman says "yes".

Amazing that there are no candidates who can get behind this message.