Monday, September 15, 2014

Marxism Redux

#Occupy #Marxism

Day off today, so I am sitting at home working on some stuff (read - taking a nap) with the BBC playing in the background and hear, "Up next on 'Hard Talk', who are the super-rich, can we afford them, and what have they ever done for us?  I have to say my attention was piqued.

I stopped what I was doing (woke up) and gave the show a listen.  What it boiled down to was a Professor of Geography from Oxford has written a book, 'Inequality and the 1%" in which he tries to make the case for Marxism, but dresses it up in the language of the Occupy movement.  He was not very successful. Some of his better arguments:

  • A CEO of a company in the Netherlands, whose economy is contracting the commentator pointed out, said "You could pay me twice as much, I wouldn't work any harder.  You could pay me half as much I wouldn't work any less"
  • People in less economically successful countries have a lower rate of income inequality
  • People who live in countries with higher rates of income inequality tend to be more optimistic but we shouldn't put much store in that.
  • People in countries with less income inequality tend to be less happy, but equality doesn't mean things will be better just fairer
  • Income inequality drives all our social ills such as lack of housing.  One of his solutions older people who are living in houses that they bought when they had children should be kicked out of those houses and the houses should be given to younger families.  When challenged on whether he was actually advocating taking peoples homes he said, "No not taking really, but they should be redistributed more fairly"

To her credit the commentator challenged him on every point and I think pretty well devastated his case.  

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