This is how the world works on progress, human nature, and why we can not attain total freedom and equality.

How the World Works.png

Here is the paradox at the heart of our world:
  • Free people make free choices.
  • Free choices result in unequal outcomes.
  • You can have freedom of choice or equality of outcome but you can’t have both.


Here's why equality is a difficult ideal to achieve:

Humans are a hierarchical species.

This means that we have defined social structures where we sort ourselves into high ranking and low ranking members.

High ranking members decide. Low ranking members follow orders.
We spend most of our lives switching back and forth between these hierarchies with leaders and followers in most areas such as:

• Families
• Schools
• Offices
• Sports teams

While most of us say we want equality, we voluntarily spend a lot of our time in unequal hierarchies.


The core benefit of a hierarchy is that it reduces ambiguity and conflict by clearly assigning roles.

This is mostly a good thing:

Animal species that don't have a hierarchy have a very unpleasant way of making decisions - violence.
But the reality of a hierarchy is that everyone would rather be at the top than at the bottom.

For example, we all want to get richer (tax the rich!) but no one wants to get poorer (cut taxes for middle class!).
When you zoom out, this seems rather insane.

We're all orders of magnitude richer than any of our ancestors could have ever dreamed of: Just look at this.


The annoying truth

We're hierarchical animals who don't like conflict.

But we're also social animals who don't like be lower than our peers in the hierarchy.

Those of us who talk about equality are just the section of the hierarchy that wants to move ahead of our peers.
But what if we could make everyone equal?

Surely all conflict would end if we just did away with hierarchies and made everyone equal.

Unfortunately, there are no such examples in our species' history.
And some forced attempts like communism have been unmitigated disasters.
My hypothesis is that It’s better to start with human nature and build a solution for us rather than start with a solution and impose it on human nature.

Equality sure sounds great but any prescription incompatible with human biology is, frankly, a useless prescription.
In that sense, free markets and capitalism have been very compatible with our nature.

Prior to Capitalism, the way people amassed wealth was by enslaving other people.

Capitalism made it possible to accumulate wealth through cooperation.
Get me right, I am not against equality. I think we should strive for it as much as possible.

But I’m also a pragmatist.

Consider the following:
In the last 200 years:

• Global poverty has fallen 90%.

• Life expectancy has more than doubled.

• Real income has risen 900%.

• Infant mortality has decreased 65%.

The average person today has a measurably better living standard than a French king had 200 years ago.
Such rapid progress is unparalleled in the history of our species:

Just look at this data.


So, am I a capitalist? Do I hate equality?


I’m just a pragmatist who believes in verifiable outcomes over unverifiable high-horsed political ideologies that aren’t compatible with our biology.
In fact, I think we can do a lot better than capitalism and we should.
But any solution will have to ignore conflicts of hierarchy disguised as politics of equality and focus on what really drives human progress which is freedom.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your feedback on the comments section!