Saturday, 28 September 2013

Is Bill Gates wealthier than 140 nations?

A question that its not even clear makes much sense. Jason Brennan at the Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog argues why it doesn't.
First, it’s a mistake to compare Gates’s total wealth to countries’ GDP. That would be like comparing Gates’s total wealth to Warren Buffet’s income this year. The relevant comparison is Gates’s total wealth to various countries’ total wealth (however you want to measure that).

Second, the pic means Gates compared to nations one-by-one, not as a collective.

Third, when it comes to complaining about wealth inequality, what is this meant to prove? There are questions about whether Gates earned some of his money wrongly, by violating the standards of business ethics. But, for the sake of argument, assume he did not. What then? Does this show that the world is in some way deeply unfair. Maybe.

But there’s another take on it: the fact that one dude has more wealth than many fairly large countries produce in a single year is evidence that these countries have really bad institutions and should change. Seriously, Ecuador, get your shit together.

No comments: