I started this as a comment that I was posting on goldrush's blog entry, but as it started getting bigger, I thought it would make more sense as an entry in my own blog.
Here's the blog entry that I am commenting about: https://www.lotterypost.com/blogcomments.asp?i=9486
...and my comments:
Sounds a bit like socialism to me. "You earned eight hours of work today, comrade."
Socialism is like a force of never-ending erosion against capitalism, and it always starts with the concept that "things are unfair".
And that's where people fall into the trap of socialism. It all sounds so good-intentioned, and it preys on people in the lower- and middle-class, who many times feel resentment at the people above them.
The problem with the whole argument is that it is based upon a faulty notion — that compensation at various levels is unfair, and we need to do something about it.
It's the last part of that sentence that makes the concept faulty ("and we need to do something about it"). If the sentence was just "compensation at various levels is unfair", then I would agree.
Taking a brief step back, capitalism is one of the key founding principles of our country and our democracy. Capitalism is the main driver that made the United States the greatest, most powerful, and most responsible country the world has ever known. Socialism, on the other hand, is responsible for creating some of the world's most notoriously evil countries the world has ever known. (To clarify, when I say a country is evil, of course I am referring to that country's government and policies, not the mass of people who live there.)
So we know that capitalism works, and this great experiment called the United States of America is a shining success story.
Getting back to main point, capitalism works so well because it is inherently unfair. In order for the the process to work correctly, and for the end result of a prosperous citizenry to be achieved, things must be unfair.
Capitalism works because people at the bottom of the ladder, who are in an unfair situation, struggle mightily to get out of their unfair situation, and try to achieve parity with those above them, on the next rung up the ladder.
Once those people get to the next rung, they feel great about their achievement, which was earned through hard work. Anything earned through hard work always feels better than something that was handed out. That's an axiom of human nature.
Of course, once the ladder-climbing person gets to that next level, they start looking around and realize that once again there is unfairness. The ladder is taller still, and it is unfair that people above them have more things, power, and money, than they do.
So the cycle repeats, as the person goes through periods of envy, hard work, satisfaction, and back to envy.
Now, some people (like the person who wrote the opinion piece that goldrush linked to) want people to think that the concept of unfairness that drives capitalism is wrong, and should be eradicated.
That is such an incredibly myopic view of the world. The better thing to do is to stand back and look at the fairness or unfairness of society as a whole under capitalism and socialism.
Under capitalism, any person — repeat, any person — can become the highest rung in the ladder. Any citizen born here can become President. Any citizen can be wealthy. Every citizen can choose what line of work they want to do. They can choose where they want to live, what kind of retirement planning they want to do, and what age they will retire at. There is no limit to the number of choices that people in a capitalistic society can have, and countless opportunities for people to take advantage of.
Under socialism, where people are given what is "fair", there is only a small segment of the population that has the opportunity to excel. 95% of the population, which is given what they need (the word "sustained" comes to mind) will not have the opportunity to be the leader of their country, or the wealthiest, or determine when they will retire, or what they will have when they retire. Those decisions are made for them by their "caretakers" — the government. Freedom is generally missing from their lives.
And that leads me back to the main point — that by using unfairness as a motivator, and because every citizen has equal chances in life and equal ability to choose, capitalism achieves what socialism can never approach: fairness.