Questions for the Masses: An Inequality Open Thread
by Snarky McSnarksnark
What is the purpose of a society?
Is gross inequality intrinsically acceptable, or only when it is a means to a broad public good (e.g. economic growth)?
Is a relatively classless society superior to a more ingrained and hidebound social structure?
Does the government have any role in influencing the culture and structure of a society?
Are significant differences in economic and social opportunity a social problem? Should the government have any role in mitigating these differences?
Are there economic goods to which people should be entitled, without regard to their market worth (Food? Medical care? Legal representation?)
As a purely Platonic example, let’s suppose that inequalty continued to grow monotonically to its maximum conceivable degree: say in which one family was worth s trillions, and the rest of the society was consigned to bare subsistence. Is this an acceptable outcome? Is this a society you would want to live in?
Can the influence of money and individual power on public policy be mitigated by structuring government power differently (e.g. isolating decision makers from financial and personal rewards, or setting up competing and overlapping nexuses of power)?
Should government have the ability to regulate economic externalities (pollution, third-party impacts, food and water safety)? Social externalities (poverty, economic exploitation)?
If you could determine the characteristics of a “good society,” what would they be?