I wouldn’t say I have a particular enthusiasm for state capitalism; I am rather appreciative of its benefits and understand that elements of it could be helpful, especially in attempting to fight climate change.

I agree with your point about natural resentment of inequality, and I believe the examples to be compelling. However, if your examples (such as the French Revolution) could be better characterised as the poor getting poorer whilst the rich get richer, creating a sense of real injustice. That’s why I believe in the moderate stance that inequality is, materially at least, acceptable, so long as everyone gets richer.

However, the psychological concerns with inequality, and the threats to democracy and the integrity of the nation state, are not insignificant, and so some treatment of inequality is required. This is again an example of how the nuanced position is often the correct one when it comes to this complex issue.

I also wouldn’t say that economic growth = growth in happiness. I have long wrestled with the issue of whether economic growth does inspire growth in happiness, but it seems that there is no alternative to economic growth. Reverting to communism would be senseless and reduce happiness, and economic recession is clearly never a good thing when it comes to happiness.

Economic growth, in my view, ought to be pursued but not at all costs: significant efforts should be made, using elements of state capitalism and the creation, insofar as possible, of equality of opportunity, to reduce inequality. This does somewhat seem to be the sensible way to approach economic growth and equality, in order to maintain happiness, and ideally improve it.

Humans have a hedonic setpoint of happiness, and only a long-term sense of purpose will increase average happiness, and give people the sense that they can work through more difficult times in their lives.

I may well write further about this subject soon after collecting my thoughts on responses to the article, so keep an eye out for that.

Politics nerd, policy wonk | Founder, medium.com/politics-fast-and-slow | Editor, politika.org.uk | twitter.com/dave_olsen16 | Policy Paper: https://rb.gy/7coyj

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