Equality of Opportunity?

The following is a quick letter I contributed to the online forum of the Globe and Mail:


One of the great challenges to North America’s dominant political narrative is that it doesn’t actually believe in “equality of opportunity“.

If one doubts my contention, simply review the attempts here in Canada to introduce a very modest inheritance tax. The elites lash out immediately, and their friends in corporate media start drumming the beat of “liberty before taxes!” in almost perfect unison. Or take a look at the numerous recent studies that show that income mobility (or the ability to rise above one’s station in life) is increasingly weak in Canada, and even worse in the USA (a.k.a. the land of opportunity).

Unfortunately, public education, given its narrow mandate and increasingly distressed status, simply isn’t enough to address the imbalance. As a result, the massive disparity simply does not allow the children of the bottom quintile to have the same opportunities as children lucky enough to be born into the top quintile.

Perhaps Karl Marx will one day be vindicated: Inequality just isn’t immoral or (most laughably) inefficient. It is a crippling tendency built right into the DNA of capitalism, as is the need for big business to use government to avoid competition and taxes. Will DNA = destiny?

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