Friday, 26 January 2007

Address Poverty First

Economist Tyler Cowen’s recent New York Times article on incomes and inequality in America is both interesting to read and relevant to some of the issues we face. Particularly, his concluding paragraph resonates well with the urgent need for Malaysia to change her archaic motivation in implementing socio-economic policies:

“The broader philosophical question is why we should worry about inequality — of any kind — much at all. Life is not a race against fellow human beings, and we should discourage people from treating it as such. Many of the rich have made the mistake of viewing their lives as a game of relative status. So why should economists promote this same zero-sum worldview? Yes, there are corporate scandals, but it remains the case that most American wealth today is produced rather than taken from other people.

What matters most is how well people are doing in absolute terms. We should continue to improve opportunities for lower-income people, but inequality as a major and chronic American problem has been overstated.”

Equality? How about Equality in Poverty?



agewisdom said...

Dear Elenor,

Keep up the good work. We need people like you to disseminate and educate us lay-people on economics.

The poor keep on getting poorer and the rich richer. The gini-coefficient is too high. And there is a feeling something is not quite right.

Look forward to visiting your blog often and for your heterodox economic thought(s).


Elanor said...

Hi A&W,

Thank you for kind words :)

Will definitely blog on.


zcer said...

yeah, but unfortunately, whether fairly or not, inequality has social consequences. Happiness (which we like to think we "pursue") IS (as in in biological fact) relative to those of others.

I remember in overcoming bias about how researchers in one field tend to see things only with their way, and neglecting that of other fields.

It's hard to know relevant stuff that is going on in other fields though. therefore, i have notified you of the social consequences of inequality. :)

i'm sorry i dont have any references though. i'm not a scholar. but it's basically the psychology of happiness. and perhaps you'll find some relevant research in sociology journals as well.

but why the hell am i commenting on a 2 month old post of yours? Because my rss reader somehow highlighted this post as "new"...