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Here's Block, for example, on "positional goods" (the idea comes from Hirsch):

. . . the problem of the growing importance of positional goods [the possession of goods and services that others cannot attain, e.g. academic credentials such as admission to the "right" school]. . . cannot be solved simply through reallocating resources or even through faster growth. . . . The only solution to the problem of positional goods is to attempt to minimize the competition. The concentration of the quest for positional goods at the higher end of the income continuum makes the problem eminently manageable. A more equitable distribution of income would dampen the struggle over positional goods by reducing the discretionary income of the rich and the upper middle class. . . . The expanded provision of public goods could also help to reduce the competition for positional goods.

by TGeraghty on Sat Jul 7th, 2007 at 07:59:19 PM EST
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