I'll admit that I got this topic from my friend Mike, (the star wars geek recently featured on my blog) who is sitting behind me at the moment, snickering. I'm in a rush to write a post because I have to leave for Readercon's first evening within the next half hour, so I'm going to try to say something intelligent about class inequality in that time. [warning]I'm writing this post inside a half an hour, and I'm trying to say something intelligent about class inequality.[/warning]
There's a Ze Frank video I've been thinking a lot about for the past week or two, called Unfair. Here it is:
In the video, he talks about the Power Law curve. In the context, he suggests that efforts by socially progressive people might be inherently doomed to failure -- 20% of the people will inevitably control 80% of the wealth, no matter what.
He says that trying to change the curve is like trying to push back the tide with a million hands. But I don't think the goal is to change the curve, at all.
I think the goal of socially progressive politics is to create artificial entities at the top of the curve -- governments, nonprofits, etc -- who are explicitly designed and required to use that disproportionate control of resources for the general good, building infrastructure, providing healthcare, and etc.
That doesn't change the way the curve is shaped, it just means that all or most of the actual people, rather than the artificial entities, will be on the long tail rather than the sharp peak, and the peak's resources will be used to make things nice for the people along the flat.
Anyway, that's what I came up with inside a half an hour. What do you think? Let me know via email (email@example.com) or in comments.