Nye on Income Differences

by Don Boudreaux on October 16, 2009

in Complexity & Emergence, Everyday Life, Inequality

My and Russ’s GMU colleague John Nye writes eloquently and wisely about income differences and the quest for status and “positional goods.”  Here’s a key passage:

But ironically, the very economic growth that has fostered greater material equality of consumption in the industrial era, and the expectations of continued improvements in both absolute welfare and relative equality that have accompanied this growth are likely to make the perception of inequality worse no matter what the data can be made to demonstrate.

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MikeM October 16, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Nye hit that one out of the park. Made Lane Kenworthy’s post seem silly.

I look for forward to Elizabeth Andersen’s response, but so far it looks like the libertarians are up 2-nil.

Anonymous October 17, 2009 at 5:18 am

You mean in the virtual world? Socialists are up 100000000-0 in the real world.

Anonymous October 17, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Wow – I’d be really depressed if I walked around thinking the socialists are winning by that much. I think you’re probably overstating the case.

Oh wait… I’m in that socialist category for you, right? Well given everyone you include in “socialist”, ya you’re right – we probably are up by that much.

Anonymous October 18, 2009 at 5:08 am


If you believe that it’s the proper role of government to take money from me to pay for Yasafi’s Cranial Rectosis treatments, then you’re a socialist.

Anonymous October 18, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Hey now – those cranial rectosis treatments are very important. We all oughta pitch in.

Justin P October 16, 2009 at 8:58 pm

The grass is always greener on the other side, if you have a lawn.

Why are “we” arguing about Global Warming, because capitalism has provided enough food, that we aren’t always looking for food to eat.

Do people really realize what would happen if they got their “wish?”

DG Lesvic October 17, 2009 at 3:38 am

Another loosertarian, who would rather remain on the defensive than go on the offensive.

Gil October 17, 2009 at 5:14 am

Why? Are you seeing your ‘masterstroke’ taking shots from all directions?

Anonymous October 17, 2009 at 5:18 am

You listen to that idiot Michael Medved.

DG Lesvic October 17, 2009 at 4:59 am

I meant losertarian, not loosertarian.

DG Lesvic October 17, 2009 at 9:14 am

Gil, in your case, I do mean loosertarian, for you have a few screws loose.

And Arrowhead (in your case I mean Lunkhead), you could use a bit of tightening up, too.

Gil October 17, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Aw what? Not even Don will support your ‘masterstroke’.

Anonymous October 17, 2009 at 2:49 pm

At least he’s consistent (and therefore easy to follow) on this “masterstroke” point.

In “More on the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics” he ridiculed GMU’s interest in experimental economics, and in “Experimental Public Choice” he offered them a donation to support it.

DG Lesvic October 17, 2009 at 2:57 pm

It’s too bad they weren’t giving cash for intellectual clunkers.

You boys could have been worth something.

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