Many people say they favor redistribution from the rich to the poor because they feel sorry for the poor. The poor suffer from having too little money, and it doesn’t take much money to help them a lot. In contrast, the rich won’t miss that money much.
They get some Tech, but at the cost of having their resources exploited and their local economies supplanted. One might hope for slightly smaller numbers of starving people before one calls this deal anything like "fair".
I suspect that grabbing goes on in all societies and has been true throughout history. You can probably find examples in every culture and also among animals.Chimps live in tribal groups and are always taking things from each other. My 2 dogs steal food from each other even though I separate them at feeding time. and they never go hungry. So grabbing goes on at many levels. Forget all the economic theories.This is more basic and universal.
The Yanomamo are primitive agriculturalists, not hunter-gatherers.
I believe the people Bryan Caplan discusses here are agriculturalists though.
Our ancestors would sometimes notice that some folks in the tribe had a lot more tangible portable stuff than the rest, and those with less would then be tempted to find an excuse to grab a bunch of that stuff.A problem with this theory is that, in hunter-gatherer societies, it is typically the rich ("rich" meaning being a physically powerful person with numerous/powerful relatives/subordinates/allies) who grab from the poor. See Chagnon's Among the Yanomamo.
What do you think sustainable development is if not re-distribution to poorer eras?
I know someone who takes a dim view of sustainable anything, including economics, on the theory that the future will inevitably be richer than the present, and therefore we should rob it whenever possible.
(Hence our hyper-willingness to believe the rich freely violate treasured norms.)Meanwhile, in my world, we are much faster to suspect the poor than the rich of violating norms. The police, security guards, and, well, all of us, watch poor people much more closely than rich people. When was the last time you crossed the street to avoid walking past a businessman late at night?
Territory? (relevant for hunting, gathering, water supply, amount of natural (non-human) enemies ect.)
Food? (Grab the dead grizzly bear the other tribe just killed and eat it yourself. This is a lot less work than killing it yourself)
Females? (need I elaborate?)
There were plenty of stuff to steal in tribal pre-agricultural societies as well. That "grabbing" didn't take place much back then is just wrong. There wasn't much to grab compared to now, but to grab even a little still could make a very big difference in the long run. It could easily be a difference of life and death.
Wow, I've never seen progressive taxation argued for in this way before. I think I may steal this justification. It's very good + original!
Charity to the boring is paying attention to them anyway, or even better, motivating them to become more curious, more interested and therefore more interesting.
Charity to the ugly would be to focus on the other things they have to offer. Although I think the idea of inherent ugliness is rather silly. Ugliness correlates strongly with lack of health, something which can often be changed. If someone is healthy, fit and happy, can they be anything but beautiful in the aspects that really matter?
Would you risk your life for a loaf of bread right now? Probably not.
What if you and your family were on the verge of starvation? You probably would.
A loaf of bread clearly has different utilities to different people.
The fact that you have money and yet can be this clueless blows a gaping hole in the meritocracy theory.
I've been trying to get this across for years. Redistribution is a social program for the rich.
This is important, but unsurprisingly ignored.
Personally, I loath the poor. Poverty is a mode of irresponsibility, immorality, and weakness. But I support "redistribution" for the simple reason that it is cheaper than increasing policing, gating communities, and replacing my car stereo every time I want to dine in town.
Agreed. There are numerous examples of psychological biases based on differences between hunter-gatherer economies and modern economies. Significant evolution has occurred in the last 10K years, so we have partly adapted to modern economies, but just like with grain and lactose digestion, there hasn't been enough time to completely adapt.
As Constant says, there has been generation of wealth for thousands of years. But not for tens of thousands of years, so we are only partly adapted to it.
On the other hand, there were no riches to steal in hunter-gatherer times, so that kinda blows out this whole argument. It's really just the period from the Agricultural to the Industrial Revolutions when stealing was a major way of getting wealth. That's a pretty short time to evolve a "riches are stealing" intuition.
I don’t think you understand non-linearity and marginal utility. We're talking about marginal beauty, not utility. You said "more beautiful than before", not "happier". By your own criteria, you would support making the ugly person a little more ugly to make a beautiful person more striking, if the end result was a more beautiful society.
And if, say, all it takes is a bit of makeup to highlight the best features of a beautiful face, it doesn't seem clear to me that you'd get a greater benefit out of the same effort applied to an ugly face.
On the matter of rights, a right is a just claim. The concept of a natural right is that certain things by their nature have just claims to be treated a certain way, and rights cannot be taken away -- only infringed upon. So you have a right to free speech even if nobody respects that right.
It seems to me you're saying rights don't exist where their objects aren't secure (e.g., if your speech is restricted by the locals, you don't have a right to free speech). Is no cause just until it has been won?