McDowell was a total idiot of a politician really was. Politics is not about vision as so many people try to suggest. It is about not saying stupid things that can be taken out of context and used against you. Honesty is derided in this country we want to hear great happy Irish Times (they are to blame for everything aren’t they J ) friendly things. McDowell alas didn’t do this he made idiotic statements which despite the fact they were right should never had been made. The most famous of which is below.
"A dynamic liberal economy like ours," the Minister said, "demands flexibility and inequality in some respects to function." It was such inequality "which provides incentives".
Correct but stupid.
Now this was read by many people as McDowell saying that people should be poor and downtrodden, saying he was the minister for equality how could he say that etc etc. Thing is he is right and mis -read.
He was not talking about equality of opportunity here. He is not saying that a kid in Ballymun should not have as much a chance of going to Trinity as a D4 head. He wasn’t saying that poverty is a good thing. In fact he was not talking about poverty at all. It was inequality of want not need he was talking about.
You would not think it living in
You hear a lot in this country about relative poverty being so high. Yet relative poverty has got nothing to do with poverty it is a measure of inequality. D4 as an area might have quiet high local relative poverty does not mean that anyone there is actually poor. It is a terrible way of measuring poverty. It is 60% of the median income not 59% not 61%. Why not is of course never explained because it is a truly arbitrary number not based on any real life experience. It is general. Being at 60% of the median income in Donegal probably goes a lot further then 70% of the median wage in
What drive’s capitalism or as McDowell said. “A dynamic liberal economy” is greed. People want to the big car the big house the big pay packet primarily because of greed. It is not a bad thing greed is good. Greed can be selfless wanting the best for your family. That is greed because it is your family over every other family. You pay for your kids to have grinds because you want them to do better then the rest of the kids you want to give them more then the state giver everyone. You want to give them an advantage. Or indeed greed can be simply be wanting to buy crap because people have better crap then you. And that is fine too. That is what drives our economy whether we like to admit it or not.
So what drives greed? Inequality. Why do people buy new cars every few years. When a 1997 Toyota Corolla still goes (and is more environmentally friendly then buying even a new prius due to manufacturing emissions). It is due to the fact that no one else is driving around in a Corolla they are driving a new BMW. Hence the incentive to go out and buy a new car is the fact that not all drivers are equal.
Look back to
So why the political distain for it? Look at the shit storm that brewed when McDowell said it. Which I think if most people thought about it would actually agree with.
One of the problems was the way inequality is now a by-word for poverty. It is not, the left has done a magnificent job of doublespeak with the word in recent years and have won that war. In every day vocabulary inequality no longer means not equal it now means poverty. The fact that McDowell didn’t realise this are is to stubborn to not use the word unequal is why he is stupid.
Tuathal had a good post over on the dosing times a while back called Better off on the dole! Basically it was about how a married man with children could be €7,300 per annum better off on the dole if he also qualifies for rent supplement then taking a minimum wage job. Families relying on rent supplement would need to have an income of €30,000, or the average industrial wage, just to equal what they would receive by staying on welfare. So basically a person has no incentive to work because of that, they have no incentive to work. How is that right? The state should always try to insure you are better off working then not working. This does not mean dropping the benefits and making him worse off on the dole. But insure that he is better off working. Offer an incentive. Because with out an incentive to work, to strive for something better this country would be fucked. The left may hate to admit it. They strive for a land where everyone was equal wealth through income redistribution but if that happened we would be worse off. We would have more then a few of those cases where it is better to be on the dole then working we would have thousands and our economy would be in more trouble then it is today.
The role of the state should be to make sure everyone has an equal shot at life. Not an equal bank balance. Inequality of want is what drives this income and we should realise it not get so angry when someone points it out.