October 20, 2017

An all out war against inequality would be extremely harmful to us all.

Sir, Tim O’Reilly writes: “Clayton Christensen’s, “law of conservation of attractive profits” holds that once one thing becomes commoditised, something else becomes valuable.” And that “Hal Varian, Google’s chief economist, noted that ‘if you want to understand the future, just look at what rich people do today’. “People power, not robots, will overcome our challenges” October 20.

But I ask, does that not require a strong supply of rich and unequally wealthy, in order to power that demand for the new, that which majorities never generate? And, if so, does that not put a dent on the argument of: “the fundamental question of our economy today is not how to incentivise productivity, but how to distribute its benefits”?

Sir from this perspective the current all out war against inequality could be extremely harmful for all. For instance, as I have, unanswered, often tweeted to Mr. Thomas Piketty “Visit the Museum of Louvre in your Paris and try to figure out how much of it would have existed, had it not been for extreme inequality.”

And O’Reilly, as a source of jobs refers to that “there is the looming spectre of climate change”. Indeed but who is going to pay for the fight against it? If government takes on debts to fight climate change, who will volunteer to repay those debts tomorrow, whether we are successful or not? No one!

That is why I have argued so much in favor of creating a whole new generation of social incentives, which could help get the world to work in the same direction on at least some important issues.

For instance, if there was a huge carbon tax, which revenues did not go to the redistribution profiteers but were shared out equally among all citizens, then we could link up the fight against climate change with the fight against inequality, without affecting the remaining societal incentive structure… that which helps to create the inequality we need.

PS. And please never forget, just in case there will not be enough jobs tomorrow, to think about how we can create decent and worthy unemployments.