Jack’s Major Is Not Economics

by Don Boudreaux on April 4, 2019

in Inequality, Myths and Fallacies

In my most-recent column at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review I recount a not-entirely-satisfying conversation with a young socialist. A slice:

I asked Jack for a specific example of an injustice in America today that would disappear under socialism.

“Inequality!” he answered immediately. Opining that it is “unjust” for one person to have multiple times more wealth than others, Jack expressed his desire for massive income redistribution.

I then asked a follow-up question that I knew would cause Jack to think that I was changing the subject. “What’s your college grade point average so far?” Jack replied, “3.85.”

“Very impressive!” I said sincerely. “You’re among a relatively small number of students at Radford who’ve accumulated such a large number of high grades.”

Jack looked at me suspiciously. I pressed on, asking if he favors grade redistribution: transferring “A” grades from students with “unjust” amounts of A’s to students with very few high grades.

Being an intelligent young man, Jack saw where I was headed. He replied “That’s different. I earned my good grades.” To which I replied: “Yes. So what makes you think that very rich people such as Jeff Bezos and Lady Gaga did not earn their great wealth?”


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