458PART SIXTHE ECONOMICS OF LABOR MARKETS◆Data on the distribution of income show wide disparityin our society. The richest fifth of families earns aboutten times as much income as the poorest fifth.◆Because in-kind transfers, the economic life cycle,transitory income, and economic mobility are soimportant for understanding variation in income, it isdifficult to gauge the degree of inequality in our societyusing data on the distribution of income in a single year.When these factors are taken into account, they tend tosuggest that economic well-being is more equallydistributed than is annual income.◆Political philosophers differ in their views about the roleof government in altering the distribution of income.Utilitarians (such as John Stuart Mill) would choose thedistribution of income to maximize the sum of utility ofeveryone in society. Liberals (such as John Rawls) woulddetermine the distribution of income as if we were
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