Redistribution Debate

History and Debate of Redistribution

Redistribution of wealth is simply the transfer of wealth, property or income from one individual to another. This redistribution is caused by some social mechanism, such as nationalization, charity, taxation, welfare or tort law. Typically the redistribution is progressive, referring to a transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor. Redistribution is sometimes regressive, however, referring to a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. The redistribution debate is widely controversial, with both sides arguing a number of different pros and cons for the redistribution of wealth.

Pros to the Redistribution Debate

One positive aspect of the redistribution of wealth is that it applies to the human sense of fairness. Humans have an intrinsic sense of fairness, proven by psychological studies and experiments. Fairness within the world of wealth certainly does not always exist, particularly in the United States. Redistribution of wealth allows citizens to feel that a sense of fairness is established. Next, redistribution of wealth is good for both the poor and the rich. When the disparity between the rich and poor is too large, economic inefficiencies occur. The rich want to stay rich, but without allowing the poor some sort of cash flow the rich cannot stay rich.

Redistribution can also help contribute to the peace and stability of the nation. As demonstrated with protests such as the Occupy Wall Street movement, when the disparity between the rich and poor is too great society falls out of balance. This leads to social unrest and eventually civil disturbances, looting and even revolutions. Lastly, if redistribution of wealth is constantly scrutinized it can work wonders for society. As long as the money is carefully analyzed and spent, the redistribution can help to eliminate poverty and starvation for a great deal of the population.

Cons to the Redistribution Debate

However, there are also arguments against the redistribution of wealth. First, redistribution works against America's economic system of free capitalism. Government interference and calls for redistribution oppose the fundamental values of capitalism. Also, redistribution may take away from a society's growth opportunities. Redistribution may mean that the rich cannot start new businesses or hire new employees, and ends up hurting the economy.

Another argument against redistribution of wealth is that it may cause laziness. Those who are dependent upon the redistribution of wealth might become reluctant to do their fair share, as they no longer have to work in order to live. Redistribution is often considered bad because it is a form of forced charity. The wealthy might not choose to donate the money of their own accord, and are instead are forced to give up their money. Those who argue against the redistribution debate believe that the poor should only receive help from private groups that willingly help the poor, such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

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