What is Right is not Always Equal

Another complaint about markets is that they lead to unequal outcomes. This is true.  They do. But there are also not equal inputs. 

The voluntary nature of markets suggests both parties must have something of value to exchange. One person who has many valuable things will have an easier time finding trading partners than someone who doesn’t.  We can easily conclude that, in the aforementioned situation, the person with more value to contribute will be wealthier.  This outcome would be moral, as nothing unsavory has occured, but unequal. Conversely, if a robber came along and stole half the man’s wealth, such an outcome would be immoral but equal.

Unequal outcomes in and of themselves do not indicate any foul play. The mere fact that income inequality is increasing does not mean the people at the top are acting in an unsavory fashion.  The mere fact that 80% of home runs are hit by 10% of players does not mean those 10% are cheating. In any statistical distribution, there are outliers. The mere fact these outliers exist are no argument that anything is amiss.

That is not to say that these may not be signs of bad issues, but just as a cough may be a sign of lung cancer, no one would recommend chemotherapy for everyone with a cough.

3 thoughts on “What is Right is not Always Equal

  1. When Alexander the Great visited the philosopher Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for him, Diogenes is said to have replied: ‘Yes, stand a little less between me and the sun.’ It is what every citizen is entitled to ask of his government.

    ― Henry Hazlitt,

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