Headline
** WHO recommendations need to be implemented to fight dengue before it takes an alarming turn ** At least 24 dead, dozens missing in Panchagarh boat capsize ** GK Shamim, bodyguards sentenced to life term ** NRCC Chairman demands jail for river polluters ** 15 hurt in BCL infighting at Eden College ** Oil, sugar sell at high price ** Missing Khulna woman handed over to daughter’s custody ** Evaly another example of fraud business ** Thousands of people marched through Iran's capital during a pro-hijab rally Saturday, paying tribute to security forces who have moved to quell a week of protests by what media called 'conspirators'. Agency photo ** Dengue outbreak takes serious turn ** ‘Europe should open to Russians fleeing Putin mobilisation’ ** 50 people killed in Iran protest crackdown ** Govt responsible for the current economic situation, says Reza Kibria ** Over 32,000 venues set up for Durga Puja ** Stop Russia-Ukraine war immediately: PM at UNGA ** World Rivers Day 77 rivers disappear from BD map 6,000 hectares land is lost every year due to river erosion ** Secret killings and forced disappearances were far too many that they call for an impartial probe under UN ** Border queues build as people flee Russia to escape Putin’s call-up ** An excavator digs a dead tributary of Buriganga River at Kamrangirchar in the capital on Friday as the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) has launched a project to ensure water flow through the anabranch. ** Apparel exporters worried about fall in orders ** Seniority of project employees to be counted from the date of regularisation: SC ** House tutor among 3 held ** Pro-government rallies held in Iran amid mass protests ** Islam has not given anybody right to enforce dress code on women ** Death toll from Iran unrest climbs to 31 **

Redistribution with equality

12 March 2014


Kevin Carson :
By its own recent report's framing and that of the Washington Post's Howard Schneider ("Communists Have Seized the IMF," February 26), the International Monetary Fund has apparently gone soft on "redistribution." But that framing is wrong.
Both the IMF report ("Redistribution, Inequality, and Growth," IMF Discussion Note SDN/14/02, February 2014) and Schneider's write-up of it conflate "redistribution" with "equality": They operate from the unstated assumption that inequality is the spontaneous outcome of "the market," while achieving greater equality requires government intervention in the market to redistribute income counter to this natural market tendency.
These unstated assumptions are of course unremarkable, constituting as they do the core of the official ideology of the big-business, big-government nexus defining the existing capitalist system. The corporate economy's dominant players have a vested interest in promoting the erroneous assumption that their concentrated wealth and economic power are legitimate because they result from superior performance in "our free market economy" or "our free enterprise system." And advocates for the regulatory state have a similar vested interest in promoting the equally erroneous assumption that state intervention is necessary to prevent rising concentrations of economic power and disparities of wealth.
But these assumptions are not true. State action to redistribute wealth downward isn't a corrective to a normal market tendency of inequality - rather, inequality is the result of continual state intervention in the market to distribute wealth upward. The primary function of the state is to enforce the artificial scarcities, artificial property rights, monopolies, entry barriers and cartels by which the economic ruling class extracts its rents - and not only that, but to directly subsidize the operating costs of big business at taxpayer expense. The overwhelming bulk of land rent and corporate profit, and of the plutocracy's income, are rents on such monopolies enforced by the state.
What's normally called "redistribution" is entirely secondary. Because these rents tend to shift income from the classes that must spend money to live to the classes that invest it or save it, corporate capitalism is plagued with a chronic and growing tendency towards overinvestment, excess production capacity and underconsumption. As a result the system is threatened by steadily worsening economic crises and by political radicalization of the lower orders resulting from economic insecurity or outright homelessness and starvation.
Progressive taxation and the welfare state - to the modest extent that they actually exist - involve taking a small fraction of the income that's redistributed upward, and shifting it back downward to prevent politically destabilizing levels of poverty among the poorest of the underclass and increase popular purchasing power enough to reduce idle industrial capacity.
Income "redistributed" through food stamps, welfare and the like is an order of magnitude (at least) less than that originally redistributed upward by the state to landlords, capitalists, usurers, holders of "intellectual property" and other monopolies, and senior corporate management and the administrative classes. It's the equivalent of a mugger hand his victim  cab fare so she can get home safely, keep working and make more money for future muggings.
So so-called downward "redistribution" is just a secondary corrective to the state's previous upward redistribution of income. The only truly just solution is to eliminate the upward redistribution in the first place, letting market competition and voluntary cooperation destroy the rentier incomes of our corporate ruling class.

(Kevin Carson is an American policy analyst)

Add Rate