Sometimes it is a nice feeling to realize that one is not the only person in the world thinking the way one does. Especially when one’s “fellow thinker” is a distinguished expert in the field considered.
A few days ago I wrote a post about the over-developed world. There is one particular passage I would like to repeat:
[T]here are poor individuals in the (over)developed countries as well. Most economists claim that the remedy against that is economic growth. […] people won’t feel better when they just have more (at least in those societies that have passed the threshold between absolute and relative needs). Relative wealth matters. We need distribution of wealth, not more wealth in absolute terms.
Yesterday, while reading a text by Gerald Alonzo Smith about some economists from the past who have not thought like the mainstream (about Sismondi, Ruskin, Hobson and Tawney), I found this citation:
Hence the idea, which is popular with rich men, that industrial disputes would disappear if only the output of wealth were doubled, and every one were twice as well off, not only is refuted by all practical experience, but is in its very nature founded upon an illusion. For the question is one not of amounts but of proportions [my emphasis]; and men will fight to be paid $120 a week, instead of $80, as readily as they will fight to be paid $20 instead of $16.
It comes from Richard H. Tawney (from his book “The Acquisitive Society”). I would say, it is better formulated than mine, but the content is fairly the same. On the one hand, it is great to see that I am not alone. On the other – my ego is displeased, since I had to realize that I am not the first who has thought so;-)