Writing assignment: 250 words: “Would it be moral to grade exams, so that all students get C’s? If not, is it moral for the state to redistribute incomes?”
Take a moment and think about this. Would it be moral to give every student a C regardless of whether or not they did a better or worse job? The answer: no. Some students may have done work worthy of an A, and some students are worthy of an F! If everyone receives the same grade, the F students are being rewarded for work they did not do, or did not do well, and the A students are being cheated. They did the work, they did it well, they deserve an A! Giving everyone the same grade also destroys the incentive to work well. If you are going to be given a C anyway, what is the point of trying to do better?
The same can be said for adults with jobs. If everyone gets the same income, no matter the job, then why would you work harder? For example, if you were a computer programmer but received the same salary as a McDonald’s cashier, why would you not just do the easier job for the same money? If everyone gets the same income, many will never want to or try to do better in life. Money is an incentive. Money is what drives entrepreneurs to start a business, what drives that McDonald’s cashier to become a computer programmer. If you take that promise of more money and you say, “no, everyone gets the same”, then that McDonald’s cashier will not care to become a computer programmer. Why bother? It is more work for the same amount of money.
The subject of redistribution of income reminded me of a book series I read a year or so back called Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger. It is a very interesting series, and I highly recommend it. There a certain aspect in the book that would not make sense in the real world. Of course, the magical powers of the elves would not make sense either, but let’s just put that aside for a moment. In the Lost Cities, the elves are given a “birth fund”, about a trillion or so elven dollars. They are a high-tech community, but no one works for money because they already have more than they could ever want or need. They work for the benefit of society in and of itself. A character in the book says this, They do not work for money, they work because it is “the right thing to do.” Now, I read this and thought, “wait a minute, why are humans living in poverty and struggling and working tough jobs for small amounts of money when we could give everyone large amounts of money, and they could work happily?” But after some deep pondering, I realized that it would not work. Why? Because people are generally lazy. Think about it: if you had a trillion dollars, would you go out and wrangle large, dangerous creatures so that they would not hurt anyone? No. You would be putting yourself in danger, and you would be breaking your back trying to move these animals around for no reward. But if someone offered you a hefty sum to move the animals, then would you do it? Assuming you did not have a trillion dollars, of course. Yes, I think you would.
Now, laziness is not necessarily a bad thing. A lazy person will find a quicker and easier way to do a task, which then frees up time for to do another task. Humanity is so highly developed compared to other animals, because humans were able to make tasks easier so they could relax, play, or learn something new. With more free time, we are able to enhance our knowledge and realize amazing things that lead to new tasks.
In conclusion, it would indeed be immoral for the state to redistribute incomes because money is an incentive to work. If you give everyone the same money, why would anyone want to do a better job at anything? People only labor because they need to. In the past, we worked in the fields growing crop because we needed to eat. Nowadays, we work to earn money, so we can buy the food to feed ourselves. Since not everyone is farming, others are free to study, trade, discover new things, and make life easier for their fellow humans.