Politics

The American Dream is Happiness

One of the values championed by social justice warriors is the demand to see greater income and wealth equality.

Billy Ramsay

June 24, 2018 7:45 PM EST


One of the values championed by social justice warriors is the demand to see greater income and wealth equality. Some liberal activists see equal wealth distribution as a moral good, something that is objectively good. Many people are unhappy and would even consider it evil seeing a person benefit from unequal wealth distribution. Leftists advocate for an equal society, including a system of equal wealth distribution. This socialist form of a national economy ensures equality and therefore happiness for everyone. However, does equality actually equal happiness?

While leftists advocate for income and wealth equality, suggesting it promotes and increases happiness, a study by Norton and Ariely refutes that notion. The study finds that American’s are not as concerned with egalitarianism as some would believe.

The study showed that on average, Americans do believe that more should be done to support the lower income peoples in society, but that Americans are less concerned about large income inequalities. Americans believe that the richest 20% should have more than three times as much wealth as the lowest 20%.

As part of the poll, subjects were given an option of equal and unequal wealth distribution and would be randomly selected to be any person from the richest to poorest, as a veil of ignorance. In the findings, well over 50% of subjects chose wealth inequality over wealth equality. This proves that when it comes to real life situations, people prefer a system of wealth inequality.

One explanation for this preference of a system of unequal wealth distribution is the theory of relativity. One reason people reject income equality is because there is a natural desire instilled within human nature to have more than other people. Often, this is not even defined in absolute monetary gain or the accumulation and possession of objects, but rather in relative gain compared to others.

Studies prove that when discussing and comparing income and happiness, relative wealth is more important for personal happiness, rather than in absolute terms as advocated by leftists. In addition, the same studies also find that when a neighbour gains more wealth in relative terms to a person, it has a sizeable negative impact on that person’s health. It is human nature to want to have more than someone else, to be more successful, to have better things, and so on. When humans see other people succeed and get ahead, they get jealous. Clearly, the desire for relative gain far outweighs that of one for absolute gains.

Additionally, another motivation for an unequal system of wealth distribution is that of meritocratic mobility. This is the belief that a system of unequal income and wealth distribution acts as the incentive to hard work and the mobility that creates a successful and effective society. The unequal distribution is part of a system that incentivizes mobility. Mobility is the key to people being born into poverty working their way up out of poverty.

In a system without mobility, and where an individual is guaranteed absolute wealth gains equal to everyone, there is no incentive to hard work, innovation and invention. This causes society to fail and collapse, and the system is no longer effective and efficient, as everyone cheats because the incentive of the mobility and the ability to gain is no longer present.

Humans actually prefer unequal wealth distribution because it makes humans happier. The benefits humans receive from the current system as a result of hard work is what drives happiness. This ultimately is the American dream. The American dream is built upon hard work and mobility. It’s the belief that through hard work you can achieve a prosperous, comfortable and happy life. That life can only be achieved through an economic system with unequal wealth distribution.


Blake Hambly is a political commentator and author, and editor writer-in-chief for Drained Media. Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, he has worked extensively in countless political campaigns across North America, and is a proud American.

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