Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on March 5, 2015

in Inequality

… is from page 295 of Randy Simmons’s 2011 Revised Edition of his and the late William Mitchell’s excellent 1994 book on public choice, Beyond Politics:

Americans’ desire to protect their privacy and rights to be different is impressive.  Protagonists of equality never, it seems, make clear precisely what, other than wealth and income, should be equalized.  Must everyone dress alike?  Live in the same houses with the same furniture?  Eat the same meals?  These are not rhetorical questions to be dismissed as the mouthings of irritable, impatient self-important professors.  If de Tocqueville’s observation concerning the increasing marginal importance of differences as equality is achieved is true, the egalitarian faces a serious dilemma.  If everyone had the same income they would still trade possessions because their diverse preferences or tastes in consumption would require trades.  Invidious comparisons cannot be avoided even in the equal society.

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