Liberty vs. Equality

For the past century the mainstream political movements of the world have offered us a stark choice: small government with ever increasing inequality, or equality with ever increasing big government. As a result we have in the United States a nasty combination of big government and a huge wealth gap.

Here at Holistic Politics I present a different vision: more equality and smaller government. This is actually an old idea, the political market position of the classical liberals of yore. But classical liberalism didn’t work out as expected, and so the original liberals split: some joined with the socialists to form modern liberalism, while others joined the political right in an attempt to preserve Adam Smith’s vision of a market economy.

To revive the original classical liberal vision, we must look at some of the forgotten bits, as well as deal with some of the errors of the original vision and factors that could not have been anticipated. Presently, there are 5 article series:

The Balance of Wealth. At the highest level an economy can be thought of as a market between three major factors of production: Labor, Capital, and Land. The wealthy can buy additional income by accumulating Capital and Land. This spreads the wealth gap over time. An economy where more of the income goes to Labor will be far more egalitarian.

Wealth to the Working Class. Labor in the economic sense includes both front line workers who get their hands dirty as well as white collar workers and management. When the regulatory state grows bloated and complicated, the need for management grows in order to comply. Less income flows to the working class.

Split the Corporations. The fundamental argument for capitalism over big government is that you can much more easily shop between corporations than you can shop for government services. This advantage fades when corporations merge into monopolies and oligopolies. Antitrust should be part of any realistic libertarian vision – and it leads to a smaller income gap as well. But how can we have antitrust and rule of law at the same time?

Welfare that Works. When the poor are desperate, they are willing to work long hours for low pay. It’s better than starving. Pure capitalism without a safety net can become a nightmare for many. On the other hand, welfare done wrong penalizes all productive activity by the poor, locking millions into permanent borderline poverty. It also increases crime to the point that the Land of the Free is now the home of the world’s largest prison population. There are solutions.

Power to the People. Democracy does not work as well as advertised. Herein are some ideas to make it work better. (Many updates needed here. Stay tuned.)