Monday, August 29, 2011

"Growing inequality is shrinking opportunity" Say what?

Can't post comments. Just to point out Stiglitz makes absolutely no sense here,

First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets—our people—in the most productive way possible.

One the "we diminish"ing, and the "our most valuable assets" simply screwy. People shouldn't be other peoples assets, and shouldn't be viewed as assets without some pretty careful definitions about who's doing the possession. People should be objects to be used productively!

Every American should be free to produce and create and enjoy the rewards of their labor.

Our labor and pay need not be particularly equal for every American to enjoy that pursuit.

If there's some constraint here, Stiglitz should have explained. As is, it's pretty half baked.

3 comments:

Amy said...

Your link goes to a very short excerpt from a five-page article. That article explains the problem in much more detail, though it's unlikely it will do so to your satisfaction.

As someone who is irritated by objectifying terms like "human resources," I appreciate this:

People shouldn't be other peoples assets, and shouldn't be viewed as assets without some pretty careful definitions about who's doing the possession

but I think Stiglitz's usage is justified. By "we" he means "U.S. society as a whole"--the way we have organized our economy and government--and in referring to people as assets he is not being reductive but only saying that, among other things, we are assets to each other. Give the man a break--he's trying to use a capitalist argument to


Every American should be free to produce and create and enjoy the rewards of their labor.

Our labor and pay need not be particularly equal for every American to enjoy that pursuit.


But perhaps having 1% of the population control 25-and-rising-percent of the wealth (he is talking about wealth, not pay) is a state of affairs far worse than what is implied by the mild description "not particularly equal." Stiglitz thinks it is too unequal to be either just or healthful.

How far can the balance can tip before things are too unequal in your eyes?

Bill Baar said...

Right, and Stiglitz didn't write the "US Economy as a whole" because it's pretty rude to suggest we're its assets, not to mention there's no "we" as agent to organize the darn thing.

Stiglitz writing about a "we" that doesn't exist save his own mind. The five pages riddled with this sloppy stuff.

The man never recovered from the McGovern Grants fiasco... which I thought a good idea at the time.

Amy said...

So who do you think is "we"? Granting that none of us, nor even all US citizens put together, have the power to organize the economy, who IS responsible for the way our economy is organized? If there were a problem with it (which you appear to doubt), who would be responsible for fixing it?

It seems to me you are arguing about trifles and not addressing his central point.