The Great Leveler

On Jordan Peterson's recommendation, I'm about to start "The Great Leveler," an attempt to analyze how much income inequality has occurred from 9,000 B.C. through the present.  The general consensus is that the author is descriptivist not prescriptivist and has no political agenda to push.  His overall conclusion is that income inequality is persistent, interrupted only by cataclysms like war and pestilence, which foster an equality by general immiseration.

It's interesting to read the most positive and negative reviews, as I usually do before taking a chance on a book:  about the same number of negative reviewers object that his political bias is obvious.  Some, however, object that he is betraying a bias to the left by arguing that inequality must be bad, without explaining why or noting that what's important is how tolerable life is for those on the bottom.  Others object that he is betraying a bias to the right by arguing that equality can be achieved only by violent disaster, whereas all sensible and compassionate people know that inequality occurs only when bad men use violence.  The positive reviews tend to find him apolitical, whether the reviewer betrays a disposition towards the left or the right.  The author himself apparently offers no suggestions other than to be careful what we wish for.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonder if there will be any parallels with Pareto's work.