I've long wondered why it is possible for people to hold utterly opposite views on matters that are resolvable by examination of evidence.
A classic example is whether top-down, centralised, redistributive economies are better than decentralised, competitive free-market economies.
Without having to provide examples of "pure" examples of either, there are enough examples along the continuum to tell us which works best.
And then it dawned on me... perhaps the anti-free-marketeers are actually arguing about another point.
So here's my thought experiment.
Imagine two possible countries (not based on real ones; please don't debate whether such places exist!):
- Country one: everybody earns £2,000 per year - total equality
- Country two: the poorest earn £10,000 per year and there is a range of incomes up to mind-bogglingly large salaries - great inequality but even the poorest are better off than those in country one.
Which would you rather live in?
My suspicion is that free-marketeers would vote for country two because everybody is richer than in country one and that those opposed to economic liberalism would vote for country one because of the gross inequality in country two.
Have I characterised this correctly?