chapter  III
21 Pages

The Distribution of Income and Property

In order that the monetary and pricing system should work with equity it is necessary to achieve a fair distribution of income and property. Great inequalities mean that the rich are given purchasing power over a large proportion of the real resources of the community, while the poor are given command over only a very meagre amount of goods and services. This is not only inequitable, although it is impossible to deny the injustices of a social system in which accidents of birth may decide whether a man or woman is to command a very large or a very small proportion of the community's resources. In a very real sense such a system is also extremely inefficient. If the rich are able to buy up milk to feed to their cats while the poor are unable to afford enough milk to feed to their babies, there is a real waste of milk, in the sense that more real human satisfaction could have been obtained if the babies had drunk more milk, even though the rich had had to contemplate the feeding of their cats on less delicious and less nourishing fare. This, in a nutshell, is the case for the rationing of milk. It illustrates the truth of the contention that if we wish to remove as much as possible of the bureaucratic direct controls, it is necessary to take radical measures to ensure a tolerably equitable distribution of income and property. Otherwise the money and pricing system is like an efficient and secure election machinery with the freedom ensured by secret ballot-but one where some people are given a thousand votes, and others only one vote, to cast. (a) The Present Problem.