Inequality and the social contract

November 06, 2011

Commentator Anthony Marcavage's view that both liberals and conservatives misunderstand the meaning of the social contract appears admirably balanced at first blush ("Both sides wrong about social contract," Commentary, Nov. 3).

However, he mischaracterizes U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren's argument in order to conclude that she is wrong about what we each owe one another and society.

Ms. Warren's argument that the corporate CEO didn't get rich on his own as he moved his product over roads paid for by all taxpayers is not, as Mr. Marcavage states, an argument that CEOs benefit disproportionately from the social contract simply because they are rich.

Rather, the point is that CEOs owe a debt to society because they benefit from the investments that society as a whole makes so that their businesses can succeed.

James Trautwein

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