Egalitarianism explained in a simple YouTube video

As part of my procrastination today from writing my book, I stumbled upon this video by the YouTube science communicator Veritasium.

What’s so lovely about the video is how clearly it explains reams of philosophical debates between liberals and libertarians in twelve minutes, and comes to a more cogent conclusion than most of them.

Basically, situated epistemologies require those most advantageously situated to help other have better luck. Combining social psychology and behavioral economics, this video clarifies through an experimental model how luck always plays some role.

The myth of the self-made man is one of the most destructive ones of our society, and acts as cover for those well-off to not value others who have not been so lucky. The punchline of the entire video is that we have benefited from intergenerational largess, and so those who have benefited the most have a duty to enlarge the ability for others to get recognition, validation, and resources through creating opportunities for other to enlarge the pool of luck – horizontally, not vertically.

Thus, policy implications include:

  1. Getting rid of the possibility for billionaires (using a combination of taxation, demurrage (negative interest rates), taxes on trading financial assets, etc)
  2. Regenerating the welfare state (including a universal basic income)
  3. Social norm changes: quit venerating billionaires or other wealth hoarders as false idols
  4. Not let people like Bill Gates or Elon Musk make public health or climate policy decisions — as these are far out of their expertise — only because they are rich or influencers
  5. Quit using philanthropy as an ersatz for a functioning social democracy.
  6. Return society to science, rather than let the irrationalities of greed eclipse scientific progress, insights, and applications