Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Freedom Summer II, Opportunity vs Outcome

Robert B. Reich: Freedom Summer II [Commentary] -
Today, as then, a group of Americans is denied the dignity of decent wages and working conditions. Today, just as then, powerful forces are threatening and intimidating vulnerable people for exercising their legal rights. Today, just like 50 years ago, people who have been treated as voiceless and disposable are standing up and demanding change.

Yes indeed, millions of people are FORCED to work at Wally ... however, Reich does helpfully inform us "WalMart is no Bull Connor", gee, glad he covered that, I might have been confused!

Blacks demonstrated for equal OPPORTUNITY, current demonstrators want EQUAL OUTCOME  -- independent of their ability of lack thereof to achieve any sort of results at all. Now in theory they say "more equal", but why stop there? If $15 an hour is good, is not $25 OR $50 better? What principle would decide that number?

I've started a "balanced reading" of switching back and forth between Hayak's Fatal Conceit and Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century . Piketty may be against others making a lot of money, but his book is the most expensive I've ever bought on Kindle at $22.

I'll be doing a lot of reading, but basically Hayak's Fatal Conceit is the idea that things like culture, social structures, economics are "human created" and thus human understandable. He argues that they are emergent orders selected because "they work better" over eons of time, and when we meddle with things like "the market", we do so at peril to our economic well being and possibly even our civilization. Social Science fields tend to very much forget tghe "First, do no harm" maxim and assume that they can willy nilly play with the world economy to get their "desired results". Seems so reasonable to me that it is surprising that anyone even thinks of disagreeing.

Adam Smith no more "invented" the Invisible Hand than Newton "invented" gravity -- they both DISCOVERED them, with nearly zero idea of really "why" they work, only that they do.
But of course Piketty has a much higher opinion of his abilities, and KNOWS there is a huge problem with Capitalism called "inequality". Again, I'm mystified right from the start. If one compares me to the WORST brain surgeon at Mayo, or the WORST NFL QB, or the WORST opera singer, I'd assert that all the 1000x, 10,0000k and essentially infinite x comparisons of "inequality" are expressed very well. My contribution in any of those fields and MANY more is and would be even with significant effort so pitiful to defy mathematical comparison.

So why should the area of making money, creating wealth or investing be any different? Is it REALLY that surprising that Warren Buffet is a 1,000x of even a BILLION x better investor than 99.9999% of the population? To me it is not surprising at all.

And why is that bad? If Buffet allocates resources a billion times better than some idiot that say trades a deserter for 5 top notch terrorists (hypothetica), why NOT let Buffet do even MORE investing? His allocation is likely to generate WAY more wealth for the rest of us than we would otherwise have, even if Warren "takes" (a kind of fuzzy concept in a market economy) 90% of it! As long as we can eat, have a roof, buy some beer now and then, why exactly do we care what Warren does with his money or that he has more of it?

So essentially Hayak says that we are all bent on shooting our own feet off in attempt to "even up" economic allocation, and Piketty is INTENT to show us how to accomplish it!

People can write very long books over what seems obvious to me -- but I guess that just proves how stupid the Moose really is!

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