In history, there have been largely three theories about how to distribute wealth, generally associated with political movements.
The first theory (chronologically) is the conservative theory. This theory says that the people who should control wealth are those who are the strongest militarily. This is a very stable solution, but it doesn't really work all that well - it generally keeps societies at their Malthusian limit; people who are strong militarily are generally much better at taking wealth from others (a negative sum game) than creating it (a positive sum game). There are very few people who believe in this theory, and those that do are generally in charge of very poor countries.
The second theory is the classical liberal theory. This theory says that the people who should control wealth are those who are the best at making new wealth. This actually works out really well - giving lots of wealth to people who are really good at making wealth tends to result in them making... even more wealth.
The third theory is the progressive theory. This theory says that the people who should control wealth are those who are the smartest. On its face, this actually sounds like a good idea. In practice, being smart doesn't mean that one is good at increasing the amount of wealth in the world - it typically means that one is deeply concerned with displaying how smart one is. There is a pretty deep problem with this theory, and that is that historically, people have only started to believe in the progressive theory after lots of time on the classical liberal theory. What ends up happening is that either another culture takes over, or the nation consumes more than it produces until there is nothing left and then it moves back over to the conservative theory, after a great deal of pain and suffering.
While the conservative theory is attractive in its stability, it is the classical liberal theory which truly deserves to shine - it is far and away the best way (that we know of) to increase the welfare of a nation.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
-- Matthew 5:3-10
Progressives: Doing God's work since 1517.
It really is amazing how Christian progressives are - although they seem to not be content with inheriting the Kingdom of God in death - they want to create the Kingdom here on earth.