Inequality and The Common Good
Cathleen Kaveny August 4, 2008 - 6:28am
Joe Pettit asked an important question on a thread below: Do social and economic inequality matter? If so, which candidate offers the best chance of addressing the problem appropriately?Here is his question:"Entrenched and deep inequality, not just economic, but racial as well. We are increasingly become a nation where the gap is widening greatly between the very wealthy and everyone else. Location of birth is more and more influencing ones outcome in life, no matter how much effort one applies. My problem is not inequality as such, but rather what happens to a society marked by deep and persistent inequality.Part of the difficulty on this one is that I am not sure we know how to think about it. The standard leftist response is still deeply influenced by Marx, who I have now decided is a nightmare for economic issues. The tell tale marxist sign is a labor theory of economic value, not a market theory of value, and I really think the labor theory is hopeless (who decides how much labor is worth?).A second part of the difficulty is that we do not realize just how much the demographics are trending toward the situation getting even worse in the U.S. (I actually think it will get better globally). The boomers are starting to retire and they do not have nearly enough money invested on which to retire.Finally, our debt economy is just going to take a long time to work its way out and the consequences for purchasing power are dismal for years to come."
About the Author
Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.