Economic Human Rights (19): Spreading the Wealth Around

The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. … The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. … It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion. Adam Smith

The purpose of economic rights is the equal possession of a minimum supply of those fundamental material means, which are necessary for the continuation of life in a decent way. If there are some people who have less than the minimum, economic rights will redistribute some of these means. In other words, these rights will take some things away from those who have enough and give it to those who do not have enough. This is possible because, globally or even nationally in some cases, there is enough for everybody. The only problem is the unequal distribution.


1 thought on “Economic Human Rights (19): Spreading the Wealth Around”

  1. Thank you for posting this very important quote to throw in the face of Joe the Plumber and all his followers. Same with the data and comments on inequality.

    Maybe you can do a post on the history of the progressive income tax, which I understand goes way back, and is a form of spreading the wealth, or at least reducing inequality, is it not?

    And the history of the earned income credit, which I understand started on Reagan’s watch, and which is definitely spreading the wealth.

    Doesn’t the Obama plan to raise the top tax rate merely restore it to a level that was successful and noncontroversial merely a decade ago — and for many years before? Isn’t it at a historic low now?


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