01 June 2005
Freedom brings equality

Chris Dillow asks why it is that it is so difficult to shrink the state.  He goes through the usual public choice arguments before examining the argument that free marketeers simply haven’t made the case very well.  And, he thinks he knows why:

My theory is that they’ve failed to address the case for egalitarianism. Rather than show that small government is consistent with equality - because it allows tax cuts or higher benefits - they have preferred to rubbish the notion of equality. In doing so, they have given the impression - which is wholly incorrect - that limited government is merely the self-interest of the rich.

One of the main reasons I believe in freedom is because I believe it leads to equality.  One of the real world observations that sustains me in this belief is the comparison between some cleaners I know and any member of the upper-middle class.  The cleaners are well-fed and well-clothed.  They own lots of modern gadgets.  They jet off to exotic destinations and they drive a new car.  All things provided by the market.  The areas in which they don’t do so well are things like education and housing things either provided by the state or heavily influenced by it.

Having mentioned cars, I thought I’d mention the thrust of an article (sorry, can’t remember where) I read some time ago.  The article was making the point that being rich doesn’t make you that better off.  Compare, say, a £100,000 car with a £10,000 car.  A Mercedes S-Class is only marginally better than a Ford Focus and in some ways, such as fuel bills, considerably worse.

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  1. Equality is overrated. It inevitably means dragging some people down. My upbringing was less equal to lots of other people I know - at least in the areas where the state attempts to even things out - and I would not have had it any other way. When it comes to the state meddling in these things, most times my reaction is, “Who asked you anyway?” The answer, of course, is that lots of people with vested interests asked them, which is another good reason to detest such interference.

    Posted by Jackie on 04 June 2005 at 05:14pm

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