Second, a certain class of pundits and politicians are quick to see any increase in income inequality as a problem that needs fixing—usually through some form of redistributive taxation. Applying the same philosophy to leisure, you could conclude that something must be done to reverse the trends of the past 40 years—say, by rounding up all those folks with extra time on their hands and putting them to (unpaid) work in the kitchens of their "less fortunate" neighbors. If you think it's OK to redistribute income but repellent to redistribute leisure, you might want to ask yourself what—if anything—is the fundamental difference.Forcing people to pay more in taxes is one thing, but forcing people to work for free (slave labor?) is quite another. Or is it? By taking away a percentage of the money the marketplace is willing to pay someone for their work--higher taxes for higher salaries--aren't we essentially forcing them to work some number of hours for free? Is it really that different?
Monday, March 12, 2007
An article by Steven E Landsburg on Slate Magazine looks at the gap in number of leisure hours between the rich and the poor. Poorly paid workers have far more leisure hours than highly paid workers. While this is an interesting concept, the final paragraph really caught my attention:
Posted by Keryn at 7:54 PM