A Defense of Inequality

I emailed Will Wilkinson with a question about his new inequality paper a couple of weeks ago, but since he says he's open to taking questions on his blog, and since I see some of my concerns echoed in Jon Chait's latest New Republic column, I figured I would re-post my question here.

One of the points Will makes in the paper -- a good point, and one that doesn't come up enough -- is thatincome is neither the exclusive nor the best way of measuring inequality. Consumption might be a better measure. As Will puts it: "If we're interested in the overall material well-being of a life,what we really want to know is the quantity of goods and services a person has consumed over the course of his lifetime, and the value to that person of all those goods and services."