The Great Antidote

Vincent Geloso on Global Inequality

October 20, 2023 Juliette Sellgren
The Great Antidote
Vincent Geloso on Global Inequality
Show Notes Transcript
Today, I am excited to welcome on Vincent Geloso. He is an assistant professor at George Mason University, specializing in the measurement of living standards.

We talk about his new study with Chelsea Follet of the Cato Institute titled “Global Inequality in Well-Being Has Decreased across Many Dimensions” , which discusses a new way of measuring global inequality, the Inequality of Human Progress Index. 

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Juliette Sellgren

Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition. Hi, I'm Juliette Sellgren, and this is my podcast, the Great Antidote named for Adam Smith, brought to you by Liberty Fund. To learn more, visit www Adam Smith

Welcome back. Recently on the podcast, we've been addressing a lot of questions about the state of inequality and how to measure inequality or equality. We've been doing this mostly in America, but today on September 15th, 2023, I'm super excited to welcome Vincent Gelso about a related topic, global progress and global inequality. He is an assistant professor at George Mason University, who is specializing in the measurement of living standards along with a lot of other things. We're going to be talking about his new study with Chelsea Follett of the Cato Institute, which is titled Global Inequality in Wellbeing has decreased across many dimensions, which discusses a new way of measuring global inequality, the Inequality of Human Progress Index. It's a lot of H's and i's welcome to the podcast.

Vincent Geloso 

It's a pleasure to be here.

Juliette Sellgren 

So before we get started, first I want to say I'm really excited. This is my first interview of the new semester of school for those of you who are keeping up with my education, which might not be many of you, but that's exciting for me. I haven't been in this recording studio that I'm in currently in a long time, so I'm glad to be back. But I have a question for you, which is, what is the most important thing that people my age or in my generation should know that we don't?

Vincent Geloso (1.55)

When you sent me that question, I won't lie. I thought about it and I still don't have an answer. And I would say it's a bit condescending of me to answer that question because there's a lot of knowledge out there whose value is entirely subjective to the use to which people want to put them. So there's obviously some facts that I would really like people to know more. For example, what we'll be talking about today or how much living standards have increased since the Industrial Revolution. What is the timing of changes in inequality? These are facts that I think are important, but the reality is they're not always important for others or they might matter for others in ways that are different from mine. So I would probably emphasize more, and that's probably the economist in me, that a greater understanding of economics is probably the thing that is the most valuable in this world, just to conceptualize very simply opportunity costs to have conceptualized marginal thinking, and I think that's the one I would go for.

Juliette Sellgren 

It's pretty straightforward. Take intro econ.

Vincent Geloso 

Yeah. Well, you said it simpler than I said it. So much more straightforward. I'll take your description of that.

Juliette Sellgren (3.32)

Yeah, no, that's a great response. And I think it's interesting because a lot of people actually say they don't want to come across as condescending or as being wiser or smarter, and I think there is kind of a point to that. There's this localized generational knowledge, but I think at the same time, even learning that opportunity cost and understanding that is important is something that needs, there's a part of information that needs to be passed on from one to the next. Even part of the subjective knowledge I think is helpful in the next generation's crafting of knowledge. Now I'm just kind of talking out in the air, so

Vincent Geloso (4.14)

No, I understood your point. It's my half big thoughts. No, I think it speaks to the core idea of, and essentially the quest for knowledge. Since we have limited time in anything we want to do and limited resources, we have to privilege a type of knowledge that can provide value to us, to our families, to our friends, and we can't know everything. So let's select the things that truly matter, and the position makes a lot of sense. It's just harder to tell what matters to you or to me, I know what matters. To me, it's harder to tell what matters to you from my vantage point, I think that's a better way to formulate it.

Juliette Sellgren (4.58)

And no, that's a great point because there's kind of this asymmetric information where we each know ourselves better, which I guess maybe kind of informs where we both come from politically in a lot of ways, I think. But there's also, for me, I'm sitting here, the opportunity cost of not taking advice from people who have been around longer than me is pretty high, because then I'll just be reinventing the wheel. So they're like two sides to the coin, which is kind of fun.

Vincent Geloso (5.29)

Yes. But I will hazard a proposition here where a lot of information sometimes is work rediscovering. So it's been even more obvious to me when I became a father, but there were a lot of things that I was told and that I knew were true, but I did not fully appreciate until doing it myself. There's some things like this that we don't fully appreciate their true meaning until for some reason we play with it ourselves. So yes, it is useful to draw on other people's wisdom from the past, but there's something about rediscovering what is known that actually makes it work quite well. So see, when I say I'm very reluctant to tell people what to do, you can see it here. Even stuff that is obviously smart can actually be worked rediscovering by yourself to appreciate how important it is. Yeah,

Juliette Sellgren (6.33)

Yeah. Or even now, so I'm teaching, I mentioned this to you earlier. I'm teaching intro micro and macro this semester while I'm TAing, so I'm helping out, and my mom was like, you should read the textbook again as you teach. And I thought that that was silly, but honestly, even though I've already learned it, I'm relearning it. So even when it's yourself relearning and rediscovering something in a way when you come back to it or when you take something you thought you knew and you're going deeper into it, I don't know. Yeah, no, there are a lot of elements in this seemingly simple statement, but yeah. 

Okay, let's get into it. So for decades, critics of globalization have lamented the inequality that trade and a growing economic interdependence among nations would create between the rich and the poor. So you kind of mentioned this with what's happened since the Industrial Revolution and misconceptions about that. Can you tell us a little more about the rhetoric around income inequality and global inequality right now, whether it's here in the US or abroad?

Vincent Geloso (7.47)

So the general discourse that has emerged, there is different variance to it where some people will take probably the kind of a Motte and Bailey approach. Some people will say inequality is forever higher today than it ever was in the past. That position is nearly impossible to defend, largely because first of all, inequality in the past, say in 1800, there wasn't as much there was today, but everyone was equally poor. So finding that everyone had rising living standards on earth since say the 18 hundreds is itself a fascinating statement. And then saying that it improved more for some countries, but that after 1950 for incomes, there is trends towards leveling for all individuals across the world. And as soon as you look at other indicators like education, like lifespan, there is a clear fall in inequality since the beginning of the 20th century. So it is underappreciated for how long the world, in terms of the broad dimension of what we would call living standard have equalized.

So that's like the variant, the Motte position that is impossible to defend that the world is eternally more unequal, that it doesn't fly in the face of this. A more defensible position is that the world is too unequal, which then people say we need to have more quality, which is a harder position to, it's a sounder position to defend. But at the same time, when you look at it, the only areas where inequality seem to go in the wrong trend is in the wrong direction. At the very least would be in western societies. And that's only true for income. And in countries like the United States, like my home country of Canada, inequality is rising in income, but not on other dimensions such as life expectancy. But also strangely enough, inequality in life satisfaction. So if you ask people in surveys, how are you satisfied on a scale from zero to 10 with your life?

So we're not asking about your daily emotional wellbeing, we're asking for a global appreciation of your life inequality and life satisfaction has fallen even though income inequality has increased. So that position of rising inequality in the western world is a very hard position to defend as being meaningful because it's clear that we are in countries like France, Canada, the United States, people are so rich that there is this weird way that you could actually get rising inequality in income, for example. But you could also get the same time falling inequality in life satisfaction because these countries are in such state of abundance by historical standards that ways to live a life that is meaningful are much more numerous than in the past. And some of them, some of these ways might not be related very strongly with income. The example, like for example, giving classes is we could put a Benedictine monk net next to a hedge fund banker, and we could state that the hedge fund banker earns 10 times more than the monk, and that his income increases twice as fast as the monks.

And so in that situation, there is an unequal society, but an increasingly more unequal one. But if offered the option to swap positions, the priest refuses to become the banker. He finds that his life is much more comfortable in that weird life of spiritual contemplation that is only available because he lives in a site that is so rich that he's able to live that life of the Imit. And in fact, you could even have a case where it is so rich that the banker decides to become a monk himself. And in that case, it becomes an even weirder case. But from the vantage point of an economist in rich societies, if you only look at income inequality to ask the question of how well distributed living standards are, you're going to miss out a large share of what is happening and what is the nature of societies with much greater abundance than was the case historically.

Juliette Sellgren (13.01)

And even monks today, I would think are better off than monks were a hundred years ago.

Vincent Geloso (13.09)

Yes, that would actually be a good way to do the comparison is you would be saying, are they, how many people can pursue these less materialistic quests? Less materialistic quests require great personal sacrifice. It requires sometimes some level of discomfort. But the reality is subsistence today versus subsistence a hundred years ago is very qualitatively different- food as a cost of time of work you would need to put to buy basically your basic amount of calories to survive is a fraction of what it used to be in the past. So if you wanted to say a person who derives wellbeing only from a basket of goods that is assuring subsistence, and once he has that basket, he refuses to do any more work. Well, the cost of that basket has fallen over time in terms of unit of work you have to put in to acquire that basket.

So that means more people can engage in spiritual contemplation, can engage in types of works that have non-monetary rewards. So more leisure time, more time in family, less physically gruesome work, even though physically gruesome work comes with very large wage premiums. The fact is we live in societies now where we're okay with discounting some material wellbeing because we have so much of it. This marginal utility is relatively lower than it was in the past. So that's why you can explain this fall in life satisfaction inequality. Even though income inequality looks like it's increasing, there's a dimension of the rise in inequality in rich societies that is largely due to the result of living in such great abundance. Not all of it. There's some part that we could find condemnable as economists, but for the whole, it doesn't mean that it automatically, a rising level of income inequality, for example, does not automatically translate into saying living standards are improvements in living standards are unequally enjoyed. You can't make that claim even in rich societies. So when I said there's a Motte and Bailey position, the Bailey ain't even that strong. So the stronger the two position is still very, very, very weak.

Juliette Sellgren (16.00)

So you've kind of touched on this a little bit, but this seems to be kind of the context where the new inequality of human progress index came from. It goes beyond just measuring income inequality. So why is focusing solely on income trends sometimes limiting to how we can understand progress?

Vincent Geloso (16.21)

So I think I've touched a bit on that by saying that in really rich societies income is not necessarily reflective of income inequality. I have to be very precise because everyone likes more income, but income inequality is not necessarily synonymous with wellbeing inequality. So that's why, especially in rich cases, in rich countries, you would want to extend your measurement of living standards so it has more dimensions. But all of these dimensions must speak to one common set of philosophy. And that really goes back to, so anyone in the group who's an economist knows that when we do consumer theory, we give to students a consumer budget that could be a budget constraint with relative prices, and we say, well find maximize utility given constraint. The idea is that the weaker your constraint is. So that means the richer you are, the more choices you can make.

So the philosophy of development is not saying that we care about a particular choice; it’s that we want you to have more effective possible choices from which to pick. So income, having more income of course gives you much more choices, right? You can buy more goods, you can save more for the future. They're all things that will make it easier for you to enjoy other choices. But in very rich society, there's other things that will matter. Are you living a healthy life enough that you can enjoy time going to the gym? Can you spend a life walking around with your kids, taking in landscapes, looking at the environment? Do your kids get to survive long enough so that you can enjoy more time and family, that you have less heartache in that regard? Do you have the access to great quality information so that it's easy for you to learn things that were for before locked away from you?

Are you able to access knowledge because you can read so that you have these choices that you can make more informed choices? So understanding what your choices are is cheaper. Do you have political freedom? You have freedom of expression. All of these are dimensions that come down to the same core idea is development means more choice. Societies that are insanely poor people in really poor society, they do the best they can out of a poor hand, but the amount of effective choices that are available for them is immensely low in really rich societies. The extent of choices that we have on a daily basis from which to pick is insanely larger. As a result. What we would want to capture is something that would measure at least conceptually, all these dimension of choices that we now have that weren't there before. And what we care is that everyone from very rich rapport has the same set of effective choices available to them. And so that every inequality we end up observing would actually be inequality as a result of choice, which would be saying that people want a particular thing, they want a particular outcome, and they prefer something else much more saying, this is our true understanding of what really matters for caring about the distribution of living standards. If you want, we need the broadest dimension of indicators of living standards that together all speak to how much choices are available to us.

Juliette Sellgren (20.48)

This might be a silly question, but it's something I've been thinking a lot about. I hear a lot of people criticizing economists for only looking at money and profit and income and things like that as a measurement, but then they also only really care about income inequality. Or in the other sense, economists use prices and profit, but then here you come and you're also arguing that there's more to it than income. And maybe the way you reconcile these two things of it being more than just money and more than just profit is by taking into account these other factors. So maybe you've already in your work reconciled the two, but what do you think?

Vincent Geloso (21.33)

I want to push back on something here. I understand that this is not the position you're ascribing in a certain way either to yourself or to myself, but economists don't actually say that they care only about profits and prices. The reality is we use profits and prices when we teach classes because it just simplifies the pedagogical expression. But every time we talk about consumers maximizing, we aren't saying they're just maximizing profits, they're maximizing their wellbeing. It doesn't mean that the component of what ends up being your utility is the same from person to person. There are, for example, people you are known as target earners or even simpler, just such a thing as the backward bending labor supply curve. There is a point where higher wages just cause people to work less because a certain point, the wage rates per hour worked are so high that the extra goods you can consume from an extra hour of work are not worth the leisure time that you would be forsaking.

So actually, if wages go up, people take more leisure. For us as economists, we can put a dollar sign on it to simplify the conversation. The reality is, well really rich societies get to have the choice of really effectively saying, I actually do have the choice between leisure and work. I can take a job that is much less demanding. I can retire at a certain age. I don't have to work my entire life. I can go to school for some period of time and not answer the job market when I'm 12 years old. This is all indicators of what we really care about as economists is we want people to have choices when we do it in intro to micro. And we do, again, the consumer problem example of a budget constraint with the price of good one, price of good two and a utility function.

While it looks like we're all condensing this to dollar terms, but I could just remove the dollar terms and just say the cost of doing something and the cost of doing something else. And if you live in a richer society, well the cost of doing certain things has fallen because you're so much wealthier, you have more choices available at your disposal. And well, that's the essence of development. And I'm not the most original person in the world when I say this. There are much smarter people who've made this claim before me. It's a point that some libertarian economists will have made like myself, but also non libertarian economists like Amartya Sen, Martha Nussbaum, PT Bauer, people who have made very strong claims that the essence of development is to have more choices. And those who focus entirely on income inequality do not understand the dynamics of living standard as well as they pretend to understand them.

Juliette Sellgren (24.48)

Yeah, this is a good pushback and a good point. I think it's maybe more the expression of economists. I think something that you've done in your work is put to the forefront, this idea that when we talk about economics, we're not just talking about actual prices, right? There's a difference in economic price or cost to accounting prices and costs, but it gets a little, I don't know, frustrating both on the side of, well, I'm an econ major to hear people complain about how economists only care about money. And then also to hear professors not say so explicitly that it's not all about money, even if they intend it to be. But no, I think this is a good point and a clarification, and I think it's amazing that you have been able to show with graphs and surveys and information, this very thing that is captured in all the econ theories really. So let's get into that a little more. What do you find in each dimension that you look at when you're measuring living standards?

Vincent Geloso (25.57)

So what we did, so this is for the Cato, we're doing this across countries. Okay, I wish we could do it within countries as well. The problem is that within country data is many countries do not offer high quality data about the distribution within some countries do, but not many. So what we're presenting is across the world. So they're going to be intercountry differences, international essentially. And we create an index that we call the Human Progress Index. It's composed of eight things. It's composed of lifespans. So life expectancy at birth, the likelihood of surviving childhood nutrition, mortality from outdoor air pollution, schooling, political liberty, income inequality, sorry, level of income, sorry, and internet access. All of them are related to what I was saying about choice. If you live if are having a healthy condition. So that would be captured by childhood survival, lifespan, inequality, and nutrition.

It means that in practice, you're not physically crippled so that when a choice is available to you, you can actually physically exercise this schooling. And internet access is access to knowledge about opportunities that are available. Political liberty is, well, pretty straightforward is we want to know if you're free to express or also to make those choices that make you happy. And then there's income that we are using to capture material living standards. So there's eight dimension to our index, and we combine them together the same way that the UN creates the human development index that probably some of your listeners will have heard of, maybe not know in great detail. But the UN has been doing this since the 1980s, I think it's the 1980s, but they were doing it with only education, life expectancy, and income. We're doing it with a much greater number of dimensions to capture the fullness of what living standards mean.

And when we do this, there's two things we find. The first one is when you look at the index without looking at the inequality in the index, there are major improvements. So even if you exclude the component for the internet, which is the one that's increased the most, and you compare it to the UN's HDI, the UN's Human Development Index with our human progress index, the UN finds that from 1990 to 2018, human development has increased 22% worldwide. Our measure finds somewhere between 36 and 42%, so nearly twice as much as the un. And not only that, but we also calculated it in a way, and this is philosophically quite important, we actually give more weight to achievements that are harder to accomplish. So if you're a country that has a life expectancy of 86, say, it's much harder to push that limit that is closer to a biological limit of how long you can live than if your life expectancy is 35 in your country and you jump to 36.

That extra year near the top is much more impressive an accomplishment than the same improvement, but from the very low end of the distribution. So we're actually finding really big gains across the world. But then what we do, and this is the part I just said was important, is because we put more weight on harder to achieve accomplishment, we should find smaller gains. We should find more inequality worldwide than is the case. Because essentially what we're doing is we're providing a greater weight for countries that are super developed. But when you look at the inequality in the index for this, we find a really big decline in inequality of human progress. We don't find as big a decline as the UN's Human Development Index, but we find a huge one for the un, but we still find a big one for ours. If you look at what we say, the UN says that inequality worldwide has fallen 24%.

Ours actually ends up showing that it fell 16%. So the world is actually a fairer place, even by our metric that is a bit biased against finding lower inequality over time. So the world is clearly seeing gains in living standards, multi-dimensional living standards, which we call human progress, that is largely concentrated amongst those in the world that are at the very bottom of the scale of living standards. So everyone is improving, but those who live in poor countries enjoy much larger gains than those enriched countries, which is a statement that is not fully appreciated in the wider public. It's also true not just across the index together, but most of the individual components are showing improvements and greater equality amongst them.

Juliette Sellgren (31.45)

So I'm guessing you get a lot of pushback on this concept of weighing more developed countries more heavily. So I guess to go further into that, what does this mean either theoretically or actually for when smaller countries make bounds in decreasing inequality, whether that's political freedom or actually income life expectancy, does a gain once mean an increased chance of continual gain?

Vincent Geloso (32.22)

I would say the following. I think that by saying that we put a greater weight on harder to achieve accomplishment, it changes one important relationship. So we don't discuss this in the paper that you invited me to discuss, but it's something I'm working on as a subsequent paper that there's a famous curve in development that is not Preston Curve, and what it says is that as you increase in income, life expectancy increases, but eventually the effect of income peters out. What we say is that's actually wrong because you're saying that getting from 35 to 36 years of life expectancy is conceptually the same as getting from 85 to 86. 85 to 86 means much more research and development. It means much more research in pharmaceuticals. It means much more expenditures of things that have long times to mature, whereas going from 35 to 36 is a much cheaper thing to do.

So the marginal cost of going from 35 to 36 is much cheaper than the marginal cost of going from 85 to 86. So achieving 85 to 86 is a much more powerful statement because you're pushing against something that's much harder to push. So once you adjust for that, the so-called Preston Curve that I just mentioned, rather than looking like a curve that goes up really fast initially and eventually starts petering out in terms of its increase, it continually increases. It says that the richer we are in richer, more abundant societies, we're able to push that boundary of the quality of life in terms of health. And this can be seen indirectly, not just in life expectancy per se, but you can see it in a measure that's known as healthy life expectancy. So are you disabled? Are you crippled? How many years of active are you going to be there?

Because saying you live eight of your 84 years in total physical decrepitude, well, it's not a really high quality of life. That dimension has improved dramatically. If you look at the age of onset of certain neurodegenerative diseases, it's been pushed back over time. Their quality of life of a 60-year-old today is immensely greater and the quality of life of a 60-year-old and just physically, I don't mean just materially, I just mean physically, it's much better than the same 60-year-old in 1960 and 1940. It is much better because rich societies developed societies are able to push that boundary so much more. So you want to weigh things that are harder to achieve. You want to give them a greater weight. So yeah, we get pushback. But actually, if you think about it, it actually matters that we give more weight to achievements that harder to do for human progress. They're harder to achieve human progresses, but they matter and we have to give them an important weight. The downside of that is actually, it's actually some would say a downside, but I actually think it's an downside. It means that the way we're phrasing our human progress index, we're bound to find more inequality than otherwise is the case. Which means that if we find any fall in inequality worldwide, it's a really strong statement about the world becoming a much better place than is otherwise the case.

Juliette Sellgren (36.17)

So I struggle talking about inequality sometimes because I feel like I always come up and hit against this wall of, well, people don't really care about absolute, absolute anything, absolute income rising, standard of living, freedom, all of that. They really, I mean, as we kind of talked about before, care a lot about what it looks like or what are the narrative, maybe the perception of relative inequality, even if that's actually not the case, especially historically. So how do you go about, I mean, first, how hopeful are you at the odds that this kind of introduction of multiple factors that aren't the standard few at changing this narrative, and how hard do you think it will be to overcome that narrative?

Vincent Geloso (37.16)

I think the answer to that is to develop a richer understanding of what inequality is. So I think there is a case for saying that inequality can be hurtful, but that case hinges on contextual reasons for inequality. So let's think about it this way. The example I gave you at the beginning of the Benedictine monk and the hedge fund banker being living together in a very unequal society, but neither of them would want to swap position. I doubt that either of them would have concern for inequality, especially if it is a possibility for either of them to change position. So if the priest wants to become a banker or the banker wants to become a priest, there is no reason for them. There's nothing preventing them to do. So they've made a choice in that case. It's hard to say that inequality would be in any way destructive, but there are settings where inequality could be destructive.

This would be one where people believe that the position they inherited birth by virtue of who their parents are, is sticking them in the same position forever. So that if you're born in the lowest decile of the population, you will forever live in the lowest decile of the population. Yes, you might have some gains so that absolutely you gain, but you have no chance of rising above your status. There's no point in trying. Well, then that inequality could be highly detrimental, which is what explains, for example, societies like Canada, like the US and having high level of tolerance for inequality, even though they're highly unequal, they have a higher tolerance of it. But countries like France, which is far more equal than most countries in the OECD has an insanely low level of tolerance for inequality. And it's unsurprising because to some degree, France has very rigid institutions, very strong barriers to upward mobility, both from intergenerational perspective of whom you're born, but also by virtue of law.

There are so many barriers to entrepreneurship that there returns from trying hard to rise up are just so low that there's no point trying. So my point would be that the correct way to view inequality is not to dismiss its importance, but to understand the causes of how it emerged. People can be very tolerating, actually. You can just walk around and ask people, how do you feel about Bill Gates or Steve Jobs being billionaire or Oprah being so rich? Most of them have no problem with these superstar entrepreneurs who created something or artists that provide them with entertainment admire them. They actually tolerate the fact that they're insanely richer here. It's because it's perceived as being the result of both some form of skills, but also that's some form of exchange that makes them better off and not that in any way prevents them from rising.

Whereas political entrepreneurs, which was an example I would give some years ago, the somewhat not age really well because we've forgotten who he was, but Carlos Slim, who is a Mexican billionaire who made his fortune essentially lobbying the state to limit his competitors in telecommunications, he is a most despised man, largely because he's seen as his wealth was clearly contingent on limiting other people's ability to try to rise up. So inequality does matter, but only in how it emerges. So if it emerges from regulations or from laws or from lack of economic freedom or from just being stuck in they're inherited by birth, those would be socially detrimental and we can see ways that there'd be damaging and there'd be cases for reducing them, but otherwise they're not problematic. There are in fact many very productive forms of inequality. Sometimes there are some that actually don't even matter at all.

One that I give my students is tomorrow morning, if we leave every Asian to come to the United States, their income will increase by a thousand percent. They'll be 10 times richer than they were before. Global inequality will have fallen, but on average, Haitians in the United States don't earn as much as Americans. So they're going to swell the lower end of the income distribution in the United States. So it's going to look like the immigration is causing the US to be more unequal. But even though no American workers will have seen wages go down for them, everyone will have gained, it will look like the United States is a more unequal place, even though globally inequality has fallen. So there are a reason actually that sometime there are good inequality, immigration in Western. So countries that accept immigrants actually see rise in equality, but it's just, it's a mathematical mechanics.

There's no economic reason behind it, say for the fact that there's two different distribution of earning. But when you look at it from a global perspective, it's a massive leveling in terms of inequality to let people come to places where institutions reward skills, reward productivity, they're using every labor input so much better so that inputs can be paid much more, which means higher wages. Well, this is something that's a good form of inequality when we're observing it. There are settings where you would find inequality rise from the Benedictine monk example that we gave earlier, which is a result of choice. We can't condemn that. It can come from mundane sources that there is no way to actually make a moral judgment about the ones that we can say are problematic or the first two that I mentioned, which is things that lock people either by law or by Bert into a social class, and there is no point in trying to go up.

Juliette Sellgren (44.15)

Thank you so much for working at what you do at changing the conceptions in working with the concepts of inequality and standards of living. I think you're widening what I think of as what standard of living and wellbeing actually means. So great work. I have one final question for you, which is, what is one thing that you believed at one time in your life that you later changed your position on and why?

Vincent Geloso (44.43)

That I knew better.

Juliette Sellgren 

That's it.

Vincent Geloso (44.47)

That's it. It's really one that I was a far more arrogant man in the past than I am today. On every day I still work. I'm trying to be a more modest person to conquer my arrogance of me knowing so much more than others was something I always thought was true. And the more I aged, the more I realized that was the dumbest assumption I have ever made, and that I learned much more by just conversing with people. By having the position that having strong but weekly held priors is a good thing. That it's okay to change your position on something once you discover new information. To talk to people who are not, do not share your priors requires to be increasingly modest. Some colleagues say, I self-deprecate a lot myself. I make jokes about a million things that I have a hard time taking compliments. But the reason why it's entirely a mechanism for me to continue learning. So the one position that I'm happy that I've stopped believing and that I should always make sure I keep in check is that I know better.

Juliette Sellgren (46.15)

Once again, I'd like to thank my guests for their time and insight. I'd also like to thank you for listening to The Great Antidote Podcast means a lot. The Great Antidote is sound engineered by Rich Goyette. If you have any questions, any guests or topic recommendations, please feel free to reach out to me at great Thank you.

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