« Cargo cult thinking about virtue | Main | Job polarization »

October 13, 2014



Your point is correct but I have another point:

You cannot help people who can't help themselves. No wonder UKIP are doing so well.

"However, there are psychological mechanisms (pdf) which cause people to accept inequality: these include the just world effect, status quo bias, anchoring heuristic and resignation."

I am tempted to collectively call this, "Thick bastard syndrome"

Noah Carl

May be of interest: http://posnetres.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/concern-about-inequality-and-actual.html

Neil Harding

Beautifully argued as usual. A concise summing up of everything I believe about politics in paragraph 3.

Frank Rizzo

Great piece. In the Twitter thread that followed, Ryan reveals he's pulling a strawman - saying we can talk about inequality, but it's not "the big thing". In other articles and interviews he's been purposefully vague about what degrees of inequality we should worry about.

So standard blogger fayre.. Ho hum.

Luis Enrique

it's pretty hard to distinguish, for example, between for concern about low wages and concern about inequality. I mean of course we can talk of thought experiments in which the two change independently, but I doubt these feature prominently in the minds of survey respondents. If you find someone who says they do not care about inequality but care about low wage growth, in a context where incomes of the better off have been growing much more rapidly, maybe they do care about inequality after all


This line thinking could be used to justify all sorts of government policies people don't want but are "in their best interests".

How do you know you know what is the best interest of the public? Are you suggesting it's only right-wing capitalist sorts who are capable of being over-confident in their abilities? Perhaps you are guilty of a confirmation bias or two yourself.

Pretty scary stuff if you ask me. So much for "Left Libertarianism".


Yeah, 100% with El on this. If you're going to redefine "out of touch" as meaning ignoring interests rather than the more obvious accepted definition (ignoring preferences), you have to be DAMN sure that you're correct in your assessment of interests before you call anyone "out of touch".

Anyway, this feels like a sneaky debater's trick. "Out of touch" is commonly understood to mean "doesn't know what the people want"; ask the average man in the street, and that's how they'll define it, and that's how 99% of your readers will have understood it when you've called politicians out of touch in the past. To try to say "oh, when *I* say it, I mean something different" feels like just trying to weasel out of a tight corner.

Icarus Green

Good to see Ryan Bourne from the Centre for Sophist Studies weighing in with the presumably rigorous polling data the conservative priesthood/think tank came up with. I guess other polling has also suggested that tobacco regulation is also something people don't like:


Can't be anything to do with their funding of course...

[They deleted the 'funding' section of their wikipedia page - basically it showed these guys take a lot of tobacco money]

And then there's reality where people do think its a problem:


Strange Chris, that you would even pay heed to a utter hack like this. The fact the CPS has a section devoted to Austrian "economics" in its "policy" section had me laughing a bit.

Deviation From The Mean

I would say a millionaire MP is out of touch with most people because they are millionaires. Disagreeing on policy is not being out of touch. 20 years ago gay rights were taboo, now they are taken for granted. This shows that applying being out of touch to what people want is a little flawed.

Having said that I would argue the market is out of touch, based on its application by neil and el.

The comments to this entry are closed.

blogs I like

Blog powered by Typepad