Income inequality has no necessary connection with poverty, the lack of material resources for a decent life, such as adequate food, shelter, and clothing. A society with great income inequality may have no poor people, and a society with no income inequality may have nothing but poor people.
Egalitarians create the most dangerous inequality of all - inequality of power. Allowing politicians to determine what all other human beings will be allowed to earn is one of the most reckless gambles imaginable. Like the income tax, it may start off being applied only to the rich but it will inevitably reach us all.
The important issue is not how much inequality there is but how much opportunity there is for individuals to get out of the bottom classes and into the top. If there is enough movement upward, people will accept the efficiency of the markets. If you have opportunity, there is a great tolerance for inequality. That has been the saving grace of the American system.
These people look upon inequality as upon an evil. They do not assert that a definite degree of inequality which can be exactly determined by a judgment free of any arbitrariness and personal evaluation is good and has to be preserved unconditionally. They, on the contrary, declare inequality in itself as bad and merely contend that a lower degree of it is a lesser evil than a higher degree in the same sense in which a smaller quantity of poison in a man's body is a lesser evil than a larger dose. But if this is so, then there is logically in their doctrine no point at which the endeavors toward equalization would have to stop. Whether one has already reached a degree of inequality which is to be considered low enough and beyond which it is not necessary to embark upon further measures toward equalization is just a matter of personal judgments of value, quite arbitrary, different with different people and changing in the passing of time. As these champions of equalization appraise confiscation and 'redistribution' as a policy harming only a minority, viz., those whom they consider to be 'too' rich, and benefiting the rest-the majority-of the people, they cannot oppose any tenable argument to those who are asking for more of this allegedly beneficial policy. As long as any degree of inequality is left, there will always be people whom envy impels to press for a continuation of the equalization policy. Nothing can be advanced against their inference: If inequality of wealth and incomes is an evil, there is no reason to acquiesce in any degree of it, however low; equalization must not stop before it has completely leveled all individuals' wealth and incomes.
Ludwig von Mises
An inequality of property is the root and foundation of innumerable evils; it tends to derision, and to keep asunder the social feelings that should exist among the people of God. It is a principle originated in hell; it is the root of all evils. It is inequality in riches that is a great curse.
We in America were worried about many problems dealing with economic inequality and political inequality. The Communist Party seemed to be the only political force, both concerned and willing, to take action to stop the threat of fascism abroad and to work for economic and political reform in this country.
we should reject the attempt to divert the national conversation away from soaring inequality toward the alleged moral failings of those Americans being left behind. Traditional values aren't as crucial as social conservatives would have you believe — and, in any case, the social changes taking place in America's working class are overwhelmingly the consequence of sharply rising inequality, not its cause.
Unequal Democracy is the sort of book to which every political scientist should aspire--it is methodologically rigorous, conceptually serious, and above all, it addresses urgent concerns of our fellow citizens. As Bartels shows, much of what we think we know about the politics of economic inequality is dead wrong. Bartels's perplexing and often unexpected discoveries should help refocus the gathering public debate about inequality and what to do about it.
Robert D. Putnam
The great religious ages were notable for their indifference to human rights... not only for acquiescence in poverty, inequality, exploitation and oppression, but also for enthusiastic justifications for slavery, persecution, abandonment of small children, torture, and genocide... Moreover, religion enshrined hierarchy, authority, and inequality... It was the age of equality that brought about the disappearance of such religious appurtenances as the auto-da-fe and burning at the stake.
Arthur M. Schlesinger
The growing inequality of wealth and income distribution is both a moral and economic problem. If the wealthy are unwilling to pay more taxes, then this is going to lead to spending cuts. And if you put off the table things like national defense, then you're going to end up cutting more and more out of programs that aid the poor. So, I think there are consequences to this idea that tolerance for inequality requires us to - to just do nothing to make the wealthy contribute a higher share of resources to fund the government.
Notwithstanding the extravagance of some of their characters, these nineteenth-century novelists describe a world in which inequality was to a certain extent necessary: if there had not been a sufficiently wealthy minority, no one would have been able to worry about anything other than survival. This view of inequality deserves credit for not describing itself as meritocratic, if nothing else. In a sense, a minority was chosen to live on behalf of everyone else, but no one tried to pretend that this minority was more meritorious or virtuous than the rest... Modern meritocratic society, especially in the United States, is much harder on the losers, because it seeks to justify domination on the ground of justice, virtue, and merit, to say nothing of the insufficient productivity of those at the bottom.
Equality, as understood by the American Founders, is the natural right of every individual to live freely under self-government, to acquire and retain the property he creates through his own labor, and to be treated impartially before a just law. Moreover, equality should not be confused with perfection, for man is also imperfect, making his application of equality, even in the most just society, imperfect. Otherwise, inequality is the natural state of man in the sense that each individual is born unique in all his human characteristics. Therefore, equality and inequality, properly comprehended, are both engines of liberty.
Mark R. Levin
This kind of inequality - a level we haven't seen since the Great Depression - hurts us all. When middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that businesses are selling, it drags down the entire economy, from top to bottom. America was built on the idea of broad-based prosperity - that's why a CEO like Henry Ford made it his mission to pay his workers enough so that they could buy the cars they made. It's also why a recent study showed that countries with less inequality tend to have stronger and steadier economic growth over the long run.
Pornography is not egalitarian and gender-free. It is predicated upon the inequality of women and is the propaganda that makes that inequality sexy. For women to find passive, objectified men sexy in large enough numbers to make a pornography industry based upon such images viable, would require the reconstruction of women's sexuality into a ruling-class sexuality. In an egalitarian society objectification would not exist and therefore the particular buzz provided by pornography, the excitement of eroticised dominance for the ruling class, would be unimaginable.
Our democratic societies rest on a meritocratic worldview, or at any rate a meritocratic hope, by which I mean a belief in a society in which inequality is based more on merit and effort than on kinship and rents. This belief and this hope play a very crucial role in modern society, for a simple reason: in a democracy, the professed equality of rights of all citizens contrasts sharply with the very real inequality of living conditions, and in order to overcome this contradiction it is vital to make sure that social inequalities derive from rational and universal principles rather than arbitrary contingencies. Inequalities must therefore be just and useful to all, at least in the realm of discourse and as far as possible in reality as well.
Notwithstanding the extravagance of some of their characters, these nineteenth-century novelist describe a world in which inequality was to a certain extent necessary: if there had not been a sufficiently wealthy minority, no one would have been able to worry about anything other than survival. This view of inequality deserves credit for not describing itself as meritocratic, if nothing else. In a sense, a minority was chosen to live on behalf of everyone else, but no one tried to pretend that this minority was more meritorious or virtuous than the rest. In this world, it was perfectly obvious, moreover, that without fortune it was impossible to live a dignified life. Having a diploma or skill might allow a person to produce, and therefore to earn, 5 or 10 times more than the average, but not so much more than that. Modern meritocratic society, especially in the United States, is much harder on the losers, because it seeks to justify domination on the ground of justice, virtue, and merit, to say nothing of the insufficient productivity of those at the bottom.