Economic Inequality v. Economic Unfairness

Why should we talk about law and how it can be used to create wealth versus being used for rent-seeking purposes?  A couple of reasons quickly come to mind.  First, many politicians are lawyers and one of their jobs is to make the lives of their constituents  better.  Utilizing those legal backgrounds to figure out innovative ways to grow the pie seems like a thing worth doing.

Second, the mood of the current day, and perhaps for roughly the last decade, is that we live in a time of vast economic inequality and that that inequality will lead to our demise.  I, and others, believe this to be an incorrect view.  As this paper points out, what people are unhappy about is economic unfairness, which is different from economic inequality.  Again, wealth creation, if done correctly, versus further rent-seeking from lawyers writing the laws could turn this around.

One thought on “Economic Inequality v. Economic Unfairness

  1. Where does the monopolistic grant of a patent fall in this framework? Not equal certainly, but perhaps fair? Most jurors in my experience see patent grants as a fair reward for innovation regardless of the inequality or windfall they might yield for the inventor.

    (Of course whether patent grants are indeed *fair* is a different and complex question.)


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