In Arguing For a Redistributive Tax, Robert Reich Indicates Income Inequality Doesn’t Matter

Over at Alternet, Robert Reich attempts to make the case for a redistributive tax based upon technology.  There are a number of flaws within this text, but the biggest is he accidently undoes his case.

Mr. Reich states:

Imagine a small box – let’s call it an “iEverything” – capable of producing everything you could possibly desire, a modern day Aladdin’s lamp.

You simply tell it what you want, and – presto – the object of your desire arrives at your feet.

The iEverything also does whatever you want. It gives you a massage, fetches you your slippers, does your laundry and folds and irons it.

The iEverything will be the best machine ever invented.

The only problem is no one will be able to buy it. That’s because no one will have any means of earning money, since the iEverything will do it all.

If, indeed, a machine (or machines) are invented that can provide us with everything we want, and the profits go only to a select few, then Mr. Reich has unwittingly provided evidence that income inequality doesn’t, in fact, matter.  Such a world would gave incredible inequality, but it wouldn’t matter.

4 thoughts on “In Arguing For a Redistributive Tax, Robert Reich Indicates Income Inequality Doesn’t Matter

  1. Jon, this from Reich is hilarious to an old guy like me. He doesn’t know it, evidently, but the cartoonist Al Capp beat him to the iEverything back in the 1950s when he drew Lil Abner and the Ozark population experiencing life with the “Shmoo” See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shmoo

    Al Capp was a decided rightwing cartoonist and it was his way of warning of the danger and basic flaw of the ideology of socialism

    Like

  2. Jon

    I have bravely resisted creating a presence on Facebook, as I see it as the biggest time-waster of the 21st century, and I don’t really WANT to know what my 300 best friends are doing right this minute, or even what they’re doing today, and I don’t need to see a dozen pictures of their new kitten.

    But I almost lost my resolve today after reading this Reich piece and the comments at CH as I wanted so badly to jump into the conversation. (a Facebook account is required to comment at the Cafe)

    I don’t understand why so many people believe that getting more for less effort is a bad thing. It’s the whole reason people innovate and increase productivity. The logical end point of continually getting more for less is to get everything for nothing. The iEverything.

    Even in a world where not everyone had an iEverything, the cost of providing for others would be basically 0. Surely at least ONE generous person would have one and wouldn’t mind providing private jets for their 7 billion BFFs.

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