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In part I of this series, I argued that I do not deserve my standard of living. Though I’ve worked hard and had a few good ideas in my career, it can be argued that much if not all of my material success comes from things I had no part in — who my parents were, the rise of the internet, the importance of economists these days and so on.

In part II I argued that equalizing material well-being — extreme egalitarianism — or what might be called pure socialism, is a non-starter. It would damage incentives for hard work, destroy the role that wages play in signaling value and steering people into various tasks, some of which are either unpleasant or require a great deal of time to prepare for and execute. Pure socialism would likely make poor people poorer. Without a strong preference for equal outcomes relative to an absolute standard of living, pure socialism would make most if not all people worse off relative to the status quo. …

About

Russ Roberts

I host the weekly podcast, EconTalk and I'm the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap videos. My latest book is How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life.

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