Monday, 13 April 2015

Against equality….

None but morons, socialists and vicious redistributionists (but I repeat myself) still call for equality of outcome. The mantra these days, instead, is equality of opportunity.

But this, explains George Reisman, is equally moronic.

This essay shows that the goal of equality of opportunity is both absurd and vicious. Achieving it would require that children all be raised in the same environment and have the same genetic inheritance. In contrast, the essay shows that what we should actually strive for is the freedom of opportunity. Freedom of opportunity means the ability to exploit the opportunities afforded by reality, without being stopped by the initiation of physical force, in particular the initiation of physical force by the government or that takes place with the sanction of the government.
    For example, people are unable to find work not because there is no work for them to do in physical reality, but because government and labor-union interference, based on the initiation of physical force, prices their labor beyond the reach of potential employers. The amount of work that is out there waiting to be done may be gauged by adding up all the goods and services people would like to have but presently can’t afford to buy. The total of such work far exceeds our ability ever to preform it. Physical force, or the threat of physical force, is what stops people from seizing such opportunities to the point of all who want jobs finding jobs. It creates unemployment in violating people’s freedom of opportunity.
    The essay shows what opportunities actually are, how they are the product of human thought and effort, and why and how they require individual freedom for their exploitation. The essay upholds the idea of “the self-made man” and demonstrates how and why in later life—in a free society—children born to poor parents can, and again and again do, overtake and surpass the children of far wealthier parents.
    The essay is essential reading for anyone who wants to defend not only individual freedom but also economic inequality and the institution of inheritance.

It is available for 99¢ as a Kindle book at


  1. "Freedom of opportunity means the ability to exploit the opportunities afforded by reality"

    Which is simply fabulous when reality is that daddy is a millionaire, right George? Everyone else is a moocher. Why would anyone pay 99 cents for such turgid propaganda?

  2. @UnhandyFanny: Yes, it's true that some entrepreneurs are able to get over the hurdle of a good private education, but if you check the "rich lists" (if such is your standard) then you see most were self-made.
    Sorry if that spoils your "narrative" though.

  3. Actually Peter you will find almost everyone on any rich list was born into at least a middle class family in a developed country. That must strike you as a hell of a coincidence. Why don't all those lazy poor kids in India and China exploit the opportunities afforded by reality?

    You might want to expand your reading material beyond arrogant twits like Reisman.

  4. Sorry, why is it only you two trolls talking about laziness? If you look at the biggest two things the have-nots have not in developing countries it's the individual freedom to exploit their thought and effort (as Reisman points out above in the short piece you haven't read), and the property rights to protect the fruits of their thought and effort (as Hernando de Soto points out in several pieces that would be too challenging for you; so lucky for you he's produced a video).

  5. "Why don't all those lazy poor kids in India and China exploit the opportunities afforded by reality?"

    In most cases they're not lazy - but they don't have the individual freedom or secure property rights of developed countries - i.e. they don't have the same freedom of opportunity, which is entirely the point!

  6. @ Randy: If your parents are rich and they give you money, then I suppose you're lucky; just as lucky as those who win lotto - or as lucky as you and me, born into developed countries where there is some freedom of opportunity.

    So it's a given that some will be luckier than others - but why does this upset you so much, and how do you propose to change it?

    To campaign for greater freedom of opportunity is one thing useful you could do. But to complain about the other luck is to stamp your foot against reality - and amounts to saying that the money of the wealthy has to be shared with everyone, rather than given to their own offspring - i.e. it would be attacking their rights, the very rights which allow freedom of opportunity in the first place.

  7. "To campaign for greater freedom of opportunity is one thing useful you could do."

    By locking in the advantages of wealth and privilege (aka "reality" if you're a rabid libertarian "economist" like Reisman)? Interesting definition of useful. I love the way every ill in the world can apparently be cured by abolishing all social services. How does that work again?

  8. @ Randy: I'm not claiming a cure for every ill in the world (I don't believe in magic). But if you're seeking to alleviate entrenched poverty, you would note that it is most prevalent in undeveloped nations with little freedom of opportunity. You'd also note that the greater freedom of opportunity we enjoy in the developed word not only allows some to become very wealthy, it also means the lot of those on average or lower incomes is far superior to those in the undeveloped world. You can't fight the reality that some are luckier than others - but the more freedom we have, the less luck becomes a dominant factor in our lives.

    But no. From your responses it's clear that the "ill" for you is not poverty, but the fact that some are very wealthy. I can think of only two possible explanations for that. One is plain envy; the destructive vandal mentality that wants to tear something down because you don't have it - and in the process make us all the poorer for it. The other is that you think it's a zero sum game; that the wealth of sum necessarily means the rest of us are poorer.

    If it's envy then there's nothing further to say. But if you believe the latter, how do you reconcile this with the difference between developed and undeveloped nations I've just noted - and that everywhere in history where the envious fixation has been on taking from the wealthy (eg: every Communist state), greater poverty for almost everyone has been the result?


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