My syndicated column this week discusses the "fairness" of wealth inequality:
A free market will create big differences in wealth. That wealth disparity is simply a byproduct of freedom - vastly diverse individuals competing to serve consumers will arrive at vastly diverse outcomes.
That disparity is not unfair - if it results from free exchange.
As I show in my new book, "No, They Can't: Why Government Fails - But Individuals Succeed," the free market (which, sadly, America doesn't have) is fair. It also produces better outcomes. Even "losers" do pretty well.
I argue that government intervention is unfair:
Licenses, taxes, regulations and corporate subsidies make it harder for the average worker to start his own business, to go from being a "little guy" to being an independent owner of means of production. Most new businesses fail, but running your own business is the best route to prosperity and - surveys suggest - happiness, too.
I once opened a dinky business called "The Stossel Store" in Delaware, hawking hats, books and other goodies on the street.
It was hard to open this store. I chose Delaware because it's supposedly the state that makes that easiest - but "easiest" didn't mean "easy." I still required help from Fox's lawyers to get the permits, and the process took more than a week. In my hometown, New York City, it would have taken much longer.
By contrast, in Hong Kong, I started a business in one day. Hong Kong's limited government makes it easy for people to try things, and that has allowed poor people to prosper. Regular people benefit most from economic freedom.
The rest of my column here.