My dissertation is about the different views of economists regarding economic inequality. My motivation for this is my underlying interest in understanding how the laws of economics and the creation of Zion can both be satisfied.
I am reading a book that was strongly recommended by an economist I know. It is How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne. So far, it's underwhelming. Browne argues for an Ayn-Rand-like, balls-to-the-wall self-interest. However, he also recognizes that I might define my self-interest as being tied to the benefit of others. So he says I shouldn't sacrifice for my kids if I feel like there's some moral code that requires me to do so, but it's fine to sacrifice for my kids if I do it because I like my kids.
Adam Smith argues in The Theory of Moral Sentiments that affection is habitual sympathy, and the reason we have limitations on our altruism is because we have limitations on our time, so we can't sympathize with everyone enough to treat everyone with perfect egalitarianism. Perfect sympathy for all others would require immortality. This could be the connection that would explain why William Godwin claimed in the first edition of Political Justice that achieving perfect sympathy for others would lead to immortality.
Given that Zion requires we have "no poor among [us]," but our mortality creates limits to our altruism, how can mortal people create Zion? I am wondering about an idea of webs of affinity; I have some people with whom I would share gladly, and they have others with whom they would share gladly. I am not motivated to share with some rando, but I share with my friends, who share with their friends, who end up sharing with someone that I would consider to be just some rando. As long as we have some people with whom we are egalitarian, the differing circles of society would eventually equilibrate material possessions.
Browne, though, writes, "No one's self-interest is enhanced by the continual relaying of gifts from one person to another to another" (p. 50). Thus, he argues, if everyone were selfless, we would just shuttle gifts around endlessly, which he says is illogical, so we should let our selfishness flag fly, so to speak. But just because no one person benefits from a multi-stage transaction doesn't mean that each bilateral portion of the multi-stage transaction isn't beneficial to the two parties involved. I believe Browne is being inconsistent in recognizing that I want to share with people about whom I care, but that selflessness requires I lower myself below others, so a selfless society turns into everyone playing hot potato with material wealth. I believe equality would be an equilibrium in such a selfless world.