Wednesday, November 9, 2011

All Men Are Created Equal Not

My apologies, but Thomas Jefferson was wrong, perhaps just this once.  Not [all men are created equal].

(I won't split hair over whether it should be all men are not created equal or all men are created not equal.)

You must have heard of this anecdote before: if every possession in the world today were confiscated and then divided out equally among every living person, after ten minutes, the whole world will be unequal again, assuming everyone acts rationally.  There will be the Bill Gates'es who would successfully trade their bottle caps for medals.  There will be others who would give away their farms for something trivial, trivial as in trivial to you and me.

The ugly and yet beautiful fact is that the world functions because of inequality.  If all men are equal, the world grinds to a complete halt.  Life freezes, and, if the equality is really maintained, everyone drops dead.

Society works because everyone places a different value on the same thing.  It all started with the first kids.  When Cain wanted a beef steak to break the monotony of his vegetarian menu, he exchanged some of his onions to Abel for a part of a cow.  Cain must have reasoned that that part of a cow was worth his onions, and similarly Abel thought that the onions was worth that part of his cow.  If Cain and Abel had come to the same evaluation of the onions and the same evaluation of that part of a cow, both would have died of some food poisoning and there won't be you and I to discuss this subject today.

If David and Goliath were equal, their fight would have ended in a stalemate.  But as history has recorded, David slayed Goliath.  That is a confirmed inequality.

... to be continued later ...

Related: My three heresies.

Heresies of Economics

These are my private laws of economics:

  • Heresy #1: People respond to incentives
  • Heresy #2: People respond differently to (the same) incentives, and this creates a functioning society.
  • Heresy #3: Not [All men are created equal].
I have an advanced degree in Economics from the School of Hard Knocks.  I missed many classes.  But as there was no government in the School of Hard Knocks, I decided to award myself the degree anyway.