Friday, August 6, 2010

None Dare Call It Theft

Over at the Atlantic, Daniel Indiviglio takes on the hoary issue of gender wage inequality.

New data shows that, despite feminists' best efforts, women have still failed to reach equality in the job market -- to an extent. While women without children are holding their own against men, those who have children continue to fall behind. David Leonhardt from the New York Times explores this phenomenon, which he views as a problem. But it is really something that should concern us, or just a symptom of the choices we make as a society?

The people who worry about such things don't understand veil of money. They're in good company, of course, most of Washington D.C. doesn't, either. It's important to remember that money is just a device to make trading easier. In the end, we each trade the goods we've produced for the goods that others have produced.

Imagine a society without money where a woman bakes loaves of bread to earn her living. If she takes time off to tend to her children, she will bake fewer loaves of bread and have less to trade. The only way to bring her up to the income level of the other bakers will be to take some of the bread they've baked and give it to her. Now, some of those aggrieved bakers, let's not forget, will be women who have made the decision to forego quality time at home for a better income.

So, the issue is not one of gender inequality -- it's about who produces how much. Those who insist on income equality here are simply advocating theft from the ones who've chosen to stay on the job. They see the economy as nothing more than great pot of money that must be fought over lest capitalists take the lion's share. Now, I suppose that from the point of view of an academic or a grant-supported artist, that makes some sense.

But in the real world, we each have to generate at least as much revenue as we're paid. It's a simple concept, but how, oh how, can we ever get that point through to them?

H.T. to Althouse

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