Two weeks ago in the Washington Post, Kathleen Parker asked for suggestions on terms to replace “income inequality” in her column (“Language Inequality,” 01/07/14, A17). We suggested “Capital Homesteading.” Capital Homesteading, after all, embodies “the four pillars of an economically just society,” and the income gap is generally framed as an issue of justice:
· A limited economic role for the State,
· Free and open markets as the best means for determining just wages, just prices, and just profits,
· Restoration of the rights of private property, especially in corporate equity, and
· Widespread direct ownership of capital, individually or in free association with others.
The goal of Capital Homesteading is not equality of income, but equality of opportunity to gain income through ownership of both labor and capital. As jobs continue to disappear, the answer is to remove artificial tax and monetary barriers that inhibit or prevent most people from gaining access to the means of owning the technology that is displacing them from their jobs and have the opportunity of participating on an equal footing with everyone else in future economic growth.
Capital Homesteading has the potential to make every child, woman, and man a capital owner, not through redistribution of the limited pool of existing wealth, but by opening up the means to participate as owners in the effectively unlimited pool of future wealth.
We haven’t gotten any response to what is, admittedly, an excellent suggestion, but maybe she hasn’t had a chance to reflect fully on the implications.