Monday, October 20, 2008

Wealth and inequality: what McCain doesn't understand

McCain argues that Obama wants to "spread the wealth," not create more of it. What McCain doesn't understand is that in the current context high levels of inequality are an obstacle to wealth creation. A society/economy that wastes human capital on a profligate scale, by depriving people of decent education for instance, cannot be competitive in a world increasingly driven by technology and returns to human capital.

So, practically, McCain doesn't grasp that inequality is detrimental to wealth creation; and, morally, he doesn't understand that stratospheric levels of inequality are offensive to basic notions of human dignity. As Jonathan Cohn at TNR's blog reminds us, Adam Smith did understand that. (For more on Adam Smith's views about inequality and poverty, see Samuel Fleischacker's excellent A Short History of Distributive Justice.)


bro said...

Right on.
Good talking points for Obama.

LFC said...