Walter Williams speaks sense about the hobgoblin of income inequality

Economics professor Walter Williams speaks sense about the new leftist hobgoblin that is meant to distract voters from all the problems leftist policies have caused, namely income inequality. He argues in this piece that the focus should be on how people came to have what they have and if they earned their money justly (as in a fair poker game), there is no problem to address, while if they obtained wealth through unjust means (a crooked game; political favoritism, crime), then and only then is there a problem.

Williams is echoing Robert Nozick’s analysis in his great 1974 book Anarchy, State, and Utopia, where he examined the difference between what he called the “end-state” theory of justice in distribution and the “historical” theory. End-state thinkers arbitrarily declare that things are unjust if the wealthiest people have more than a certain percentage of the wealth, while historical thinkers ask whether the inequality was due to honest means or dishonest ones.

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