Jun. 2nd, 2012

kathmandu: Close-up of pussywillow catkins. (Default)
I was just reading yet another political argument where yet another person argued that we can't ever have an egalitarian society, or even a society with a reasonable baseline level of well-being guaranteed to everyone, because people want to outrank their neighbor on a relative scale more than they want to be prosperous/safe/happy on an absolute scale.

I don't think that's true. At least, it isn't true of everyone. Most of the people I know want a comfortable life with the chance to pursue their hobbies, and no one picking on them. Provided they can have that, they don't care if someone else has more/better/trendier whatsits.

I am willing to believe that some people really do want to be the least-poor person in a poverty-stricken society more than they want to be prosperous and surrounded by other prosperous people, but not many. Furthermore, they fuss a lot at the shock of losing status symbols, but once they're over that they are just as focused on getting minimum needs met as the rest of humanity.

So I think the repeated rhetoric about 'people will never accept a strong safety net or taxation to pay for universally-valuable services' is mostly propaganda, with just a thin backing of people who care a lot about being on top.

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kathmandu: Close-up of pussywillow catkins. (Default)
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