While studying the controversial Chapter 4, I’ve found a section that caught specially my attention due to the huge gap that it implies –In my opinion– between microeconomic theory and real life. It is in page 178 that Pancs arguments that Socialism Requires Egalitarism as conclusion of the next reasoning:
“How about adding to the list of socialist conditions equal treatment of unequals, which would require that both agents’ utilities be equalized, regardless of whether the agents’ skills are equal? Would that be too much egalitarianism? Logically, equal treatment of unequals is not in contra- diction with socialism and, hence, can be accommodated. But it seems gratuitously strong.
In fact, equal treatment of unequals is implied by the socialist conditions that we have already imposed.” R. Pancs
Followed by the proposition of the next theorem ( And its corresponding proof):
As we can recall from our courses of Economy III (Intermediate Microeconomics), one of the fundamental principles that we assume in utility theory is the ordinal –Not cardinal– approach of the utility function. This property made impossible to make interpersonal utility level comparisons due to the absence of an homologous criterion or unit that could make feasible to contrast the level of happiness that two different individuals derive from the consumption of the same good.
My questioning about the great distance between theory and reality came after making me conscious that socialism is the goal of many political parties all around the globe. So, as the equalization of the utilities of all the agents is a necessary condition for socialism to flourish, How does governments will be able that this condition is fulfilled if utility can’t be measures and compared?
Even though I couldn’t come up with a real solution, I’ve found a solution proposed in the classic dystopian novel written by the british novelist Aldous: Huxley A Brave New World. (Click link for a cool resume).
In this extraordinary book, Huxley proposed the existence of a powerful, no secondary effect and harmless drug called SOMA, which was provided by the government to each member of the society, regardless of their social position. This drug made everybody extremely happy and inducing them into a state of perpetual acceptance and satisfaction of their life.
As a drug has physical and chemical effects in the organism that can be measured, if state provides it and forces the population to consume it in on a daily basis, r it is a way in which a state can guarantee that everybody has the same level of utility.
So my final thought would be: If SOMA was a real drug, would the enforcement of its consumption would assure the possible presence of a perfect socialist state?
What do you think? Is this interpretation conceptually wrong?
I am impatient to read your pertinent comments.