Wednesday, May 12, 2004

War, Famine, Pestilence and Not-Being-Able-To-Afford-Vanilla-Beans

Dan Boudreaux has thrown a stone into Lake Blog.

One of the ripples:

In America today, famine doesn't divide the rich and the poor; what does is the ability to buy vanilla beans, dine at Galatoire's, or eat a diet that would make a nutritionist proud.
Income inequality is not invisible. Status symbols surround us (as they probably always have). The lifestyles of the rich and famous are well-documented. Rising living standards don't change this.
Isn't famine a problem orders of magnitude more important than a "vanilla bean" gap between rich and poor?

In developing countries, poverty still means a palpable possibility of starving to death. Lasting improvement in the living standards of developing countries requires economic growth, which entails the possibility of increasing income inequality. The problem is that the First World Left is trying to export to developing countries its elevation of income equality - which is a reasonable goal in developed countries - to the summum bonum of social justice.

This utterly parochial lack of perspective puts the lie to the Left's internationalist cosmopolitan posturing. The only circumstance under which First World Leftists are likely to endure widespread famine themselves is if they ever came to power.