One of the most articulate voices of reason challenging what is said by the press, academics and politicians about wealth is that of Thomas Sowell. His book Wealth, Poverty and Politics (2016) is a searing criticism of writers he refers to as “income redistributionists” (e.g. John Rawls, Thomas Piketty, Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz). Sowell challenges the underlying assumption that large wealth disparities are caused by something or some people. Simply affixing blame locks the mind into a limited worldview. Questioning implicit assumptions unlocks the truth to reveal hard economic facts.
The hidden assumption is that economic inequality would not be so drastic but for some cause or blame. The problem with just assuming that the natural or normal state of affairs is equality of wealth is that it results in blindness to the facts and faulty reasoning. The assumption that standards of living among people would be automatically even leads to the false belief that inequality is an unnatural problem to be fixed. Inequality has been ubiquitous throughout recorded history because of human nature (we are a violent species). Sowell analyzes the factors leading to economic differences by carefully separating the moral and causal issues that so many thinkers blur together (mistakenly or intentionally when advancing an agenda). Implicit assumptions not only escape scrutiny because they are implicit but they also lead to confusion and deceptive attempts to re-define words. Contradictory beliefs and policies can be based on very different meanings of terms like equality, freedom and justice.
The bottom line is that people are either rich or poor because:
- They (or their ancestors) produce more or less than others; or
- They seize more of what others produce or have what they produce seized from them.
Let’s probe Sowell’s thoughts on the matter in the coming weeks. Your Estate Planning War Chest should contain an honest awareness of why you are rich and others are poor because there is a disturbing level of distortion, disinformation and propaganda from the media, academics and politicians on this issue. We’ll then see that the intellectual walls of our wealth bunker are safely secure and more than adequate to withstand ongoing attacks from collectivists thought, which were demolished many times over by historical thinkers. And yet those same arguments continue to be advanced by Leftists ideologues today. Don’t let unchallenged assumptions lock your mind down.