Arguments from Natural Law are among my pet peeves — there’s nothing quite like reducing a complex sociological issue to a simplistic, naive causal relationship based on, of all things, physics. Steven Pinker commits this sin in discussing thermodynamics, which he seems to have a rather cartoonish perspective on, to the point where he decides that poverty is explained by entropy. Or rather, that poverty needs no explanation.
Poverty, too, needs no explanation. In a world governed by entropy and evolution, it is the default state of humankind. Matter does not just arrange itself into shelter or clothing, and living things do everything they can not to become our food. What needs to be explained is wealth. Yet most discussions of poverty consist of arguments about whom to blame for it.
Yeah, rather than talking about exploiters and capitalism and historical inequities and all that messy stuff, let’s instead have a caricature of a physics explanation from a psychologist who apparently gets all of his understanding of thermodynamics from creationist web sites and pop psychology magazines.
I’m just going to wash my hands of this slime and let Blake Stacey explain it all.