Re: Compensating for wealth gaps

From: Sasha Chislenko (
Date: Wed Jan 12 2000 - 13:07:51 MST

At 11:44 AM 00/01/12 , Kris M. Schnee wrote:
>Today's "Tech" carries an opinion column called "In Search of a Better
>System." (Sub-headline: "Homelessness, Wealth Gap Not Acceptable As
>Byproducts of Free Market System.") "Call it socialism or communism,"
>writes author Michael Borucke, "it seems much more democratic [than
>capitalism] to take the power [whatever that means] from the corporations
>and give it to the masses."
>I dealt with a similar article last month (see
> and
>, and I'm not due for
>another column for two weeks. Would any of you like to respond to this one?
>If so, contact
>-Kris Schnee

Let me try to articulate a libertarian answer to this:

Is it democratic to make babies before you have studied
enough and worked enough to make sure they will have
sufficient resources to be productive members of society
and not homeless - and then voting, together with other
irresponsible people, to take by force the wealth from
people who (or whose families) were more responsible?

I assume that some people may have been impoverished in
the result of very bad luck (children of professors who had
a brain tumor and whose savings and health/life insurance
were simultaneously wiped out in a Y2K glitch - and who
have no friends or relatives that would care to help
them [?] )

I think that in a free and at least somewhat compassionate
society there should be many enough people who would
voluntarily help such victims of incredible strings
of bad luck, on the condition that they will wait with
having their own children until they acquire a solid
profession and save enough money so that they can raise
their own children by themselves.

No need to rob anybody.

And about gaps in general: you have resource allocation
gaps/differences in any system, from ecosystems to economy
to personal budget. Good distribution intends to put
resources where they can be used best - not worst, and
give incentives to everybody to perform better, so that
in the next generations everybody would be better off.

Current "poor" have incomparably better health and knowledge
access than kings of the recent past.

You can also try to eliminate comparable, by life stage, gaps.
I may currently be twice your age and have more money working
on commercial AI, with just one child I decided I could support
well - while you are only 22, have a crappy computer, mortgage
to pay and two kids who you have trouble supporting.

But when I was 22, I may have worked in a f*cking communist
country on jobs that were forced on me under the threat of labor
camps, had no computer, was not allowed to even mention the desire
to own a house or anything else, and being responsible, could not
afford any kids.

So in a comparable stage of your life, you live so much better.
Want to compensate me for the unfortunate past I had?
How about just anybody older than you are?
Don't forget they won't see as much future interesting things
as you will...

There are so many gaps...

Or you just want to look at currently visible things?

Even for those, you can come up with a hundred of other compensation
schemes in various currencies - what if person A is richer than
person B, but has spent too much time earning his/her wealth to
work on his/her looks, or is "genetically/chronologically
challenged" and can't get enough sex? Should s/he be entitled to
some sexual charity (make it a democratic "tax") ?

How should smart and healthy people compensate those dumb and sick?

Should experienced / grown-up people compensate younger people
for their relative disadvantages?

Etc., etc.

Who is there to decide what should be compensated?

Mob rule?

Sasha Chislenko <>

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