If we start by asking whether we can reduce inequality while still enhancing market efficiency, we are assuming that ultimately we want to continue enhancing market efficiency; or at least we don’t want to push inequality-busting policies beyond the point at which efficiency would begin to erode.
The board of directors is the corporate seat of power. Those are the guys to lobby if you want to see corporations dishing out money to the poor and hungry instead of hoarding it for the greedy shareholders.
There is no such thing as an ‘economic pie’ favourably granted to mankind by Mother Earth with the admonition that we should play nicely together and divide it up equally between ourselves, taking utmost care to ensure that nobody has a bigger slice than the others. But if there were an economic pie, would you rather have:
The modern market economy depends upon voluntary exchange between people selling what they have to offer and buying what they need. Workers sell their problem-solving skills and ability to get things done, and employers pay them a wage in return. That’s the beauty of the market. Alas, markets are not very effective in ensuring that everybody ends up with the same amount of stuff.
In an ideal world, we would all fly free without ever running the risk of encountering an ill wind, and we would build our dreams without having to worry that they might come crashing down.
The idea of income security means having confidence in your ability to earn a living and make your way in the world; the confidence that barring sickness or disability or some random Act of God such as a zombie apocalypse, you will always find work for your hands to do.
Many people don’t like the term ‘human capital’. They think it demeans human beings and makes them into something less than what they are, like physical capital or finance capital, turning people into chattels that are to be bought and sold in the market like so many widgets.