Economics — American economics, anyways, which is the only one you’re probably familiar with — doesn’t consider poverty a problem at all. It’s a feature, not a bug: a kind of just moral dessert. Poor? Sorry. You deserve it — not just because you are lazy, or less talented, and so on. Because otherwise, how would the talented end up being rewarded more? And if they are not rewarded more, then why would they bother sharing their talents with the less talented rest of us? In this way, American economics is a tale of the trickling down of human possibility — if you let those guys get rich, you’ll be better off, even if you stay poor, because they’ll give you awesome, wonderful, life-changing things.

True story: A couple of years ago it made the news that some young tech mogul decided to raise the minimum salary at his company to $70K, because he’d read that was the minimum you needed to be truly happy in the US.

I got into a discussion about this on Faceshit with an old boss of mine, and he was pissed off by the very idea. “But what about all my hard work to earn my salary? Why should I bother if everybody gets that?” Yeah, he’s a Republican.

Just goes to show you how pervasive the myth of American meritocracy has become. The guy was literally angry that other people would be in a good financial position.

20 thoughts on “Economics — American economics, anyways, which is the only one you’re probably familiar with — doesn’t consider…

  1. Not sure if this applies, but i do worry that if they raise the minimum, it will effectively erase my last 15 years of pay increases at a stroke.

    Which doesn’t mean i don’t think they should do it anyway, but if i essentially become an entry level employee at 42, I’m not sure what my life will look like.

    This is both an oversimplification and an overdramatization, but still something i think about from time to time.