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.
Life is not a zero sum game, which means that there is no such thing as an ‘economic pie’ that sprung fully formed from the Earth, with no further effort required from us than to divide it up equally between ourselves, taking utmost care to ensure that nobody has a bigger slice than the others. There is no fixed size of wealth, so you don't have to worry about fighting for the biggest portion or at least ensuring that nobody has a bigger portion than you. The world is big enough and varied enough for each of us to pursue our economic dreams and see them come to pass regardless of what other people are achieving. There is no fixed quota of those who are allowed to be successful, so there's no need to be afraid if you see other people succeeding - it doesn't mean that they've used up all the available success and now there's none left for you.
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.
Scholar, Writer, Friend