AbstractSamuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis want to redirect egalitarianism away from redistribution of income and toward redistribution of assets, particularly productive assets. <1> Their main reason, apart from the fact that income redistribution is so obviously dead in the political waters, is that income redistribution lowers productivity and competitiveness, while asset redistribution raises these, and in the long run the welfare of the worst-off depends more on increasing productivity than it does on distribution. Compound interest is a wonderful thing. Young workers in an inegalitarian society growing at 5% per year making half the wages of those in an egalitarian society growing at 1/2% per year will catch up in 16 years and by the time of their retirement will have four times the income. Bowles and Gintis argue that such mathematics, which has long been an argument for inegalitarian trickle-down policies, in fact supports egalitarian asset redistributions.
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