There’s an idea out there that we should become a more socially equal country. One that’s equal in civil liberty is clearly a desirable goal – civil liberties being those things we gain by being human, as we’re all humans we shall all have those liberties. There are, of course, the nutters who insist upon economic equality which is a system that has just never worked anywhere – incentives matter.
Social equality though – what’s wrong with that? Well, Torsten Bell tells us:
The DVLA has sold nearly 6m personalised number plates: 8% of us have one, with a total value of £2bn .
OK, a useful manner of raising money. That’s even “Nudge” style stuff. People are weird, how can we turn that to advantage in creating a better society?
But what is this weirdness being taken advantage of?
It turns out we’ll pay through the nose for social status, whichever side of the pond we’re on.
Oh, social status is important, is it?
We humans care about social status. It shapes how we behave, what jobs we do and what we spend our money on.
Well, yes, it appears so. As is usually true of sexually dimoprhic species in fact and is definitely true of apes. Social status matters deeply to us peeps. It’s actually the defining factor in that meaning of life, the production of grandchildren. So a socially equal country is something that does not, cannot, exist. At least, not among our current species. And those attempts to create New Soviet Man never did work out all that well, did they?