Monday, June 29, 2015

[nyzsuzjr] Redistribution panacea

Would income redistribution alone be sufficient, at least in the United States, to eliminate racial and social class conflicts?

The general idea starts with the fact that currently societal mechanisms related to race or social class will punish you a lot -- most notably in employment prospects and courtship -- if you don't follow their rules, a set of rules independent from the rule of law.  However, income redistribution would promise you a tolerable or comfortable life no matter how much you break such societal rules; you become beyond the reach of your group's societal punishment mechanisms, at least the severe ones.  For example, income redistribution can help after loss of support from family for marrying outside of the race, religion, or social class.

We might get a hint of the answer to the original question by examining other societies, looking for instances of pairs of groups within a society with similar income levels but there is significant conflict between them.  We also need to examine the severity of punishment for defecting out of your group.

Given the social safety net provided by income redistribution, optimistically there will be enough defectors that cross the social barriers (most notably for intermarriage) that the barriers will disappear, or at least diminish "enough".  It may take many generations.

Pessimistically, such a social safety net will result in the complete breakdown of society with catastrophic effects.  The societal rules provide order and allow trust relationships to form, and with people no longer needing to follow them, and the rule of law not having the resources to replace them, both order and trust disappear, leaving chaos.

In the short term, redistribution could increase social conflict, as antagonistic social groups, formerly kept separated by vast inequalities of power and opportunity, will meet on a level playing field.

There also is the potential problem of inflation.

Realistically, society will fight so hard against such income redistribution being implemented that it will never happen.

No comments :