Elsewhere, again

Is America an unequal country? It most certainly is, as every country is. The U.S. is rather more unequal than most rich countries, and quite a bit less unequal than poorer places like China and Brazil. But inequality is not poverty, whatever the current fashion is for describing it so. And that’s really all this U.N. report does manage to show, that the U.S. contains inequality. So what?

For if Alston, or the U.N., or the others who complain about it, really thought we all cared very much about inequality then they’d say they were talking about inequality, not poverty, wouldn’t they? The very fact that they obfuscate and use odd definitions shows that they know we don’t agree. Sure we’ll help the poor, indeed we do so, to the tune of that trillion dollars. That some have more than others isn’t something that worries us very much.

7 thoughts on “Elsewhere, again”

  1. The Unused Testicle

    The easy way to put someone who bangs on about inequality off their stroke is to be more honest about the definition of the word in this context:


    It sounds more noble to fight against “inequality” than to be seen to stoke up the fires of jealousy.

    But that’s what they’re doing.

  2. Redundant Ball

    You mean envy.

    You’re envious of what you don’t have, but want and jealous of what you do have, but are afraid of losing.

  3. Envy, Testi, not jealousy.

    Politicians love using Argumentum ad invidiam. If you look it up in the dictionary, you’ll see Bernie Sanders’ picture next to the definition.

  4. I wonder if the way they sample the population exaggerates the effects. If you do it over a week then there may be a lot of people on unpaid leave that week, between jobs, or in jail. If you smooth it over a lifetime then all the career progression, entitlements of pensioners, and getting an inheritance when you’re in your late 50s (?) gets added in.
    All I’m saying is that if the US does a survey based on 1 week, and another country does it over a month, one method will exaggerate inequality, especially in a country like the USA sometimes known for working hard and then playing hard.

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