It's poverty, not inequality, that is the problem | Daniel Clark

What exactly is equality? The dictionary tells us that it is the state of being equal which seems to repeat the word being defined, in an attempt to define it. Much like me saying that ‘Daniel is the state of being Dan’ as if that sheds any light on what Daniel is in the first place. The definition of ‘equal’ is ‘being the same’, and this still doesn’t help us much.

Saying that we must be the same would mean that we should all have the same haircut, and the same IQ, and the same weight. This is a discrete attempt at social conditioning and a less discrete attempt at enforcing conformity. This sacred doctrine hides a hidden hypocrisy whereby people presume that everybody has the same happy experience. Take the example of same-sex marriage. Successive governments around the world have hailed the notion as a sign of how equal society is becoming, and how jolly things now are for gay people. What they decline to mention is that, still, gay people are more likely to contract AIDS and more likely to experience suicidal ideation than their straight counterparts. The deafening silence on these issues translates as ‘equality is good, but only for things that we like the look of.’ This is perfectly natural but let us not use that as an excuse to beat about the bush: this is the hunt for equity, not equality.

Let us move on from social issues for now. On Monday Oxfam reported that eight men in the whole world own as much wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion people. The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn took to Twitter to promise that ‘We have to change this rigged system. Enough is enough. We’ll hand back wealth & control to people & communities.’ This is part of the grand socialist aim to redistribute wealth and make everything more ‘equal’, making them the most economically illiterate group of modern politics.

Corbyn recently called for a wage cap to tackle inequality in Britain

Aiming for equality sounds like a noble goal but, in actual fact, it is not. It is morally empty and intellectually redundant. What the Oxfam brigade neglect to mention is that if a young child was to have just $20, she would be richer than 2 billion people. Shall we take this money from her and hand back the wealth to the other 2 billion? What say you Jeremy? I’m pretty sure that Comrade Corbyn wouldn’t agree with this idea because, whilst he says that he supports equality, he only likes it when it’s stuff that he likes the look of or that sounds good to the electorate. Stealing money from a little girl is bad but stealing money from eight ageing men is good. Well, on planet Socialism it is.

As Johan Norberg has remarked it is poverty – not inequality – that is the real problem. Inequality means that one person earns £19,000 a year whilst a person who lives just down the road earns £55,000 a year (or indeed anything more than the original benchmark.) Poverty, on the other hand, means that a person lacks material possessions or money. They cannot afford to feed themselves, or clothe themselves, or sometimes cannot even attain permanent shelter. Whilst the champagne socialists wring their hands anxiously over whether it is moral to be in possession of morally gained capital, one in four UK children live in poverty. Successive governments have tried to do something; successive governments have failed. It’s time that government stepped out, and stayed out. If you’re interested in the Libertarian approach to the issue of poverty, do read this essay by Arnold Kling. The remit of this article is to critique thinking about equality, and not to provide solutions to this societal stain.

There’s an awful lot of confusion surrounding the notion of equality, prompting Deirdre McCloskey – author of The Bourgeois Era trilogy – to call it ‘an incoherent ethical programme.’ Germaine Greer, recognising this, refuses to say that she wants women to be equal to men. And Julie Bindel has written the book ‘Straight Expectations’, which lambasts the gay movement for its obsession with achieving equality . The once generally held consensus, that the goal of social activism should be to achieve equality, is starting to fade into non-relevance. It’s time everybody else caught up. 

It's poverty, not inequality, that is the problem | Daniel Clark It's poverty, not inequality, that is the problem | Daniel Clark Reviewed by Student Voices on 13:38 Rating: 5

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