Unclear Thinking About Income Inequality
By David Henderson
I wanted to let you know that on Wednesday, October 22, Intelligence Squared US will hold a debate on the motion “Income Inequality Impairs The American Dream of Upward Mobility.”
This is the opening sentence of a note I received from Ray Padgett.
Here’s the public announcement.
I don’t think that the participants will really be debating that motion. If they were, it’s clear that the No side should win. If people take language seriously and 1000 people vote, the vote should be 1000 to 0. And this should be regardless of whether the voters think income inequality is good, bad, or indifferent.
Why? Consider. The only way you can have upward mobility is if there’s somewhere to be upwardly mobile to. There cannot be upward mobility if there is total income equality. So the only way there can be upward mobility is if incomes are at least somewhat unequal. So the statement, “”Income Inequality Impairs The American Dream of Upward Mobility,” is definitely false.
I recommend that Mr. Padgett figure out a way to reword the statement so that people can actually be voting about something that divides them.