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August 21, 2011


George Hallam

Oh, Dr. Pangloss how right you are: we really do live in the best of all possible worlds when opportunity is restricted to the smallest possible number.

Curt Doolittle

If we must concentrate wealth in order to invent, then opportunity, which means resources, must be concentrated behind those willing, and able, and likely to invent.

The upper 1% do everything important in the world. The next ten percent distribute the information. And the rest act upon the ideas distributed to them, and make possible the concentration of wealth behind those able to create, invent and lead.

The leftist belief that the natural order of man is prosperity from which he is ostracized, conflicts with the historical and economic evidence that inclusive egalitarian poverty is the natural order of man, and that only concentration of capital frees us from ignorance and poverty.

Aristocracy, meritocratic rotation of elites, and a balance of power are the unique western social formula, and the only reason the world has been lifted out of agrarian servitude by the technologies that can only arise under the western social order: innovation, competition, rule of law, debate, and science - and a fear of hubris.

Elitism is the only route to improvement. Equality is a synonym for mob rule, ignorance and poverty.

There is no steady-state.

Curt Doolittle

Out of envy the proletariat west spends it's ancient inheritance.


The need for overcoming envy seems very much like a 'small truth' to me.

Overcoming predation, for example, might be more important.


"don’t envy the rich their income, because this often comes at a high price"

Could it simply be that the things I like, Neil Young, fell walking, real ale, are cheap, and things my friends like, skiing, BMW, red wine, are expensive. Therefore the price of work for them is worthy of the rewards, whereas I have no motivation to earn more.

Start charging £20 a pint for Coniston Bluebeard and £40 for 'Tonight's The Night' and I may just take that job in the city.

doral real estate

. The next ten percent distribute the information. ..The need for overcoming envy seems very much like a 'small truth' to me..thanks for the good blog..keep sending like this good information's..


On the other hand, the rich do actually run the fucking world for their express benefit. That's a perk I don't think any "being poor makes you work harder" bollocks can get round. One of the advantages of being rich is that you're the person using poor people to take other poor people's stuff and give it to you. The fact that you might be less inclined towards the creativity which a minority of those in the ratpit find themselves capable of probably doesn't strike you as a serious cost.

Also, the poor managed to invent UK Garage and Grime music just fine in poverty, and it should be remember that those genres are unlistenable dreck. Being poor is no guarantee of creative genius, and even if it were the chances of creative *success* while poor are significantly lowered.

All in all, I simply cannot see the advantages of inequality you claim to.

Sue R

I DO so envy you being forced to earn loads of dosh in your youth. I wish I had had the same (lack of) opportunity!

Lee T

if necessity is the mother of invention, perhaps choice is the uncle of unfulfilled potential?

Churm Rincewind

“A big reason I got into Oxford…was that, in the days before computer games, I had nothing else to do.” No. There were plenty of other things for you to do.

“When I was looking for work after university…pretty much my only option was to go into the City”. No. There were lots of other options. You chose to go into the City.

“I ended up making a bit of money simply for want of alternative…I’d probably have wasted my 20s doing self-indulgent lower paid work and…be worse off now”. No. There were alternatives. You could, for example, have worked in the field of famine relief, and saved lives, though I accept that this would almost certainly have been lower paid than work in the City, and no doubt you would be worse off now.

Instead, you chose the pursuit of wealth and privilege over many other options, and your pretence that you had no alternative is self-deluding in the extreme.

Yo Gabba Gabba

is there any mega filter by which we can divide the worthy and unworthy rich (or poor)? If not, why enact policies that treat them all as unworthy (or worthy)?

If education is available, even if funded by loans, everyone has opportunity to make a decent living and maybe we shouldn't promise more than that.

Lee T

@Yo Gabba Gabba

re. Your mega filter.. how about wealth at birth?


The idea that a concern about social inequality derives from or is equivalent to "envy" is little more than a cheap slur. Pretty typical of the right to paint compassion, social awareness, and a concern for justice as personal defects.

Niklas Smith

I'm not convinced by that argument you take from Sour Grapes about the benefits of constraints to creativity.

The big problem is survivorship bias: many frankly rubbish black and white films were produced and have since disappeared (often literally - no one bothered to keep the film reels). The sort of B&W films we see on TV or at the BFI today are naturally the cream of the crop (Hitchcock and Kurosawa). Likewise, surely there were plenty of instantly forgettable songs recorded on 78s, and plenty of great music that deliberately challenged constraints of form (Beethoven's symphonies, for example).

The problem is today we are surrounded by muzak and the latest thinly-plotted Hollywood films and so think that we live in an era of cultural decay. But in fifty years' time no one will remember (say) The Bounty Hunter or The Cooler, but people will probably still watch American Beauty and The Lord of the Rings.

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