Well. You would be anyway if politicians and the media hadn’t made it sound like such a bad thing. However, when presented an example of how wealth is distributed in America versus the option to create a distribution of your own choosing, people always design a model that looks a lot like socialism.
When you taste wine and you know the label and you know the price, you are going to be influenced by that. And when you are tasting wine in a blind way, now you don’t have anything to base it on and you have to really use your senses.
I think the same thing happens with thoughts about just societies. When we are in the regular world, we are using our current position, our ideology and the labels that politicians give us, and they obscure reality and obscure what we really want.
Two professors, one from Harvard and one from Duke, set out to discover what Americans truly want when it comes to wealth and how much they understand about the concentration of wealth in this country. Let’s summarize and you can picture the experiment for yourself.
Imagine five buckets sitting side by side. The one on the far left is Poorest, the far right is Wealthiest, and the other 3 fall in line between the extremes. I’m going to give you 1,000 coins representing all of the wealth of a given country. In a truly just, economically equal society, each bucket would have 200 coins. In America, the bottom bucket has 1 coin and the next bucket has 2. Buckets Three and Four split 157 coins between them, while the top bucket has the remaining 840 coins. Me and you and everyone we know is more than likely fighting it out in the bottom two buckets. Over half of Americans will spend at least one year under the poverty line between the ages of 25 and 75, while the top bucket has all of the coins.
This is the economic model we’re afraid of changing? We’re more afraid of the word “socialism” than the the grim reality staring us in the face?
Clearly, when people are faced with these 10 buckets—five belonging to the US and five belonging to a model even more socialist than Sweden—Americans pick the socialist model every single time. It’s clearly more fair. Instead of working toward this model that everyone would prefer, we let politicians tell us that socialism is bad. When actual socialists have something to say and people protest for economic equality (ie, Occupy Wall Streeters) we let the news media tell us they’re crybabies or lazy or out of step with the mainstream.
The only thing about our economic model that is truly mainstream is the fact that ignorance itself is mainstream in America and nobody really knows what they’re working so hard to protect.