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13/12/2014

Mitos (180) – A falácia da «distribuição do rendimento»

«Pay is not a retrospective reward for merit but a prospective incentive for contributing for production. Given the enormous range of thing produced and the complex processes by which they are produced, it is virtually inconceivable that any given individual could be capable of assessing the relative value of the contributions of different people in different industries or sectors of the economy. Few even claim to be able to do that. Instead, they express their bafflement and repugnance at the wide range of income or wealth disparities they see and - implicitly or explicitly - their incredulity that individuals could differ so widely in what they deserve. This approach has a long pedigree. George Bernard Shaw, for example, said:
A division in which one woman gets a shilling and another three thousand shillings for an hour of work has no moral sense in it: it is just something that happens, and that ought not to happen. A child with an interesting face and pretty ways, and some talent for acting, may, by working for the films, earn a hundred times as much as its mother can earn by drudging at an ordinary trade.
Here are encapsulated the crucial elements in most critiques of "income distribution'' till this day. First, there is the implicit assumption that wealth is collective and hence must be divided up in order to be dispensed, followed by the assumption that this division currently has no principle involved but "just happens," and finally the implicit assumption that the effort put forth by the recipient of income is a valid yardstick for gauging the value of what was produced and the appropriateness of the reward. In reality, most income is not distributed, so the fashionable metaphor of "income distribution" is misleading. Most income is earned by the production of goods and services, and how much that production is "really" worth is a question that need not be left for third parties to determine, since those who directly receive the benefits of that production know better than anyone else how much that production is worth to them - and have the most incentives to seek alternative ways of getting that production as inexpensively as possible.

In short, a collective decision for society as a whole is as unnecessary as it is impossible, not to mention presumptuous. It is not a question of rewarding input efforts or merits, but of securing output at values determined by those who use that output, rather than by third party onlookers

Thomas Sowell, Economic Facts and Fallacies

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