Class and Poverty
By Arnold Kling
I put my views in an essay.
When people care about their own children, there is bound to be some inequality. A friend of ours has worked in his parents’ store since his early teens, and he probably has averaged over 80 hours a week working in the store for the past 30 years. Now he stands to inherit the store. If you want to create a society where that store instead becomes the property of the state, perhaps your society would be more egalitarian. But it will also be very unfree and very, very poor. And in practice, societies where the state controls wealth tend to have plenty of inequality — it’s just that the winners have skill sets more suited to political maneuvering than business entrepreneurship.
The inheritance issue (which is not really the main issue in my essay) also gets discussed by Sebastian Mallaby and by Senator Jeff Sessions. Greg Mankiw examines comments by Edward Prescott and by Robert Reich. (UPDATE) more from Mankiw here.