Brooks: Redistribution v Free Markets

From Arthur Brooks’ The Road to Freedom, via Bryan Caplan at EconLog, regarding the debate between government redistribution and free markets:

Average Americans are thus left with two lousy choices in the current policy debates: the moral left versus the materialistic right.  The public hears a heartfelt redistributionist argument from the left that leads to the type of failed public policies all around us today.  But sometimes it feels as if the alternative comes from morally bereft conservatives who were raised by wolves and don’t understand basic moral principles.

While it is earned success that really matters, people are nevertheless wired to “keep score.”…

Just for fun, find a Marxist college professor – who scoffs at the idea that people work less if they lose the incentive of money – how he would feel if his name were not put on any of the academic articles he published.  Instead, the articles would be published under the name of another academic who needed the recognition more than he did.  After all, he would still have the satisfaction of having written the articles.  Why shouldn’t that be enough?  His completely reasonable response would be that he earned the right to have his name on those articles, and denying him that measure of earned success is viciously unfair.  Exactly.


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