Monday, April 10, 2023

Pg. 99: Tom Malleson's "Against Inequality"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Against Inequality: The Practical and Ethical Case for Abolishing the Superrich by Tom Malleson.

About the book, from the publisher:
In an era of remarkable wealth idolatry, Tom Malleson investigates the ethical justifications of wealth inequality, taking the radical position that we should abolish the billionaires.

Stark inequality is a problem the world over, but it has been worsening over the past thirty years, particularly in rich, economically developed countries. To acquire the same amount of wealth as Elon Musk, the average American worker would have to work for more than four and a half million years. Is this inequality morally acceptable and is it feasible to actually reduce inequality in the real world?

In Against Inequality, Tom Malleson makes the case for rejecting meritocracy, presenting a strong defense against the claim that individuals "deserve" their wealth. Malleson argues that people, especially rich people, do not morally deserve the bulk of their income because it does not, by and large, come from anything the specific individual does, but is largely due to the vast understructure of other people's labor, in addition to their lucky possession of bodily talents and efforts. Furthermore, the book brings to light extensive historical and comparative evidence to show that raising taxes on both income and wealth is practically feasible and that the costs of doing so are far outweighed by the truly enormous benefits that such taxes could bring in terms of environmental sustainability, democratic equality, equal opportunity, and reduced racism and xenophobia.

Unlike previous books on inequality, Against Inequality focuses on the superrich, arguing that they have far too much: a world with billionaires alonside severe deprivation is a world without justice. Malleson's argument is not that billionaires are individually evil, but that a society that allows the existence of the superrich is structurally immoral. In an era of remarkable wealth idolatry, Against Inequality takes the radical position that we should abolish the billionaires.
Visit Tom Malleson's website.

The Page 99 Test: Against Inequality.

--Marshal Zeringue