Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

May 7, 2009


Excerpts from reader comments


Do the smarter people sacrifice anything in order to be born smarter? Did they create themselves and wisely choose to be born with higher IQ? Do the lesser-gifted choose to be lesser-gifted? Of course not.

Adam Bright and Barney Average are born on the same day. God, or Mother Nature (or whatever it is you personally believe created people), does the work of gifting Adam with greater gifts than Barney receives in the birth lottery: higher intellect, better health or abilities, and/or more brawn, for instance.

While Barney received lesser gifts and Adam was better paid by their creator from the get-go, both sons have the same human needs: they must both feed their stomachs or die, they must both drink clean water or die, they must both sleep or die, both require a place (land) to put their feet while they are in human bodies, they must both shelter from heat and cold, get medicine when sick, get education - you complete the list of needs that all humans share in spite of their differing birth lottery gifts.

Now, remembering that only the personal sacrifice of time and energies to working creates any wealth in the first place, and remembering that individual sacrifice/contribution to the pool of wealth is finite, is limited, it's beyond obvious that the pool of wealth is also therefore finite. But, when Adam and Barney grow up and get jobs, despite the fact they both sacrifice roughly equally, working average hard for the same number of hours, Barney Average, who drives a bus and is responsible for the lives of all his passengers over the years (he drives safely and no one is killed on his bus rides), is forced to take less pay his whole life long so that Adam Bright, who becomes a Wall Street broker-dealer, can be given more pay - the "reason" being that Adam is smarter: he was already better-paid by his creator than Barney was, even though neither of the two had any choice in the matter of who-won-what in the birth lottery. Neither sacrificed anything at all to be born the way they were.


Sadly, the world would be better off if we had not pushed so hard to replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs. The energy savings pale in terms of the environmental dangers -- one more example of saving money no matter what the cost. What we need is a move to LED bulbs. They're expensive only because we don't make enough of them. Put the R&D money into making better LEDs and forget about the CFLs. And while we're at it, maybe we can make some of those LEDs in America. - David Bright


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The below was written by a child. My daughter found it at the end of the day in the wastebasket at the childcare center where she works. I've typed it exactly as it was written. The class had been tasked to write a story about being fair. It is perhaps the most succinct and brilliant piece of economic thinking ever scribbled:

A Story about fairness

Bob + Sally made a batch of cookies there were 7 cookies + they got in a fight. So Sally went back to Japan. Bob went back to north America. So they told their leaders of their countrys. The leaders didn't agree on anything. So they declared war. Then we got out our big bombs + nuclear bombs. so we bombed them they bombed us. so we send our navy to bomb shores of Japan. Then our men invaded their citys and took everyone prisons. Then Bob said Sally you stink were winning. Sally said no you aren't you stink. So then they agreed they both got 3 and 1/2 cookies.
The End

May 8, 2009 9:08 AM  

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