Friday, March 18, 2005

Political-Economic Theory

I have a theory, which I have termed "The Invisible Backhand," in reference to Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" of the market. When wealth distribution becomes so unequal that it is (nearly) impossible for lower-class individuals to improve their comparative well-being through market means, they will turn to political (or even revolutionary) means to redistribute wealth. Thus, even though it is not the most economically beneficial course of action, the upper classes must support some redistribution of wealth to ensure that what they do have will not be taken from them. Redistributive policies act as an insurance policy by creating a stable society. In other words, pure capitalism creates income disparities that are inherently unstable. To stabilize the economic system, there must be transfers of wealth between the upper and lower classes.

Thus the title: the invisible hand of the market moves everyone to seek their greatest advantage, but the greatest advantage arises from helping others. If one ignores the plight of others, the invisible hand will move again, but in a far more destructive manner.


Anonymous El Professor said...

Re censorship--

Right on. Don't censor them beforehand, just punish the heck out of them afterwards. Words are no different from any other actions. People should be held responsible for them and when they are damaging they should pay and/or suffer instead of profiting from them.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

I don't know how this ended up under this one, instead of under the censorship post, but I'll comment on it here.

This is where it gets complicated. Punishing people for the consequences of their speech is recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court, but it must not have an undue silencing effect. In other words, if the penalties are so severe that fear might restrain people from speaking, then it is illegal.

Many states have "Son of Sam" laws that restrict the ability of individuals to profit from their crimes (via book deals and whatnot).

4:30 AM  

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