Introduction To Medianism

Medianism is not anti-elitist like socialism.  Medianism is extremely moderate compared with most ideologies.  For example, it is more in favor of elite power than democracy is.  Democracy is the ideal that voters should all have an equal amount of voting power (in theory).  Medianism does not seek equally distributed economic power. Some economic inequality is good when it creates good incentives for people to do difficult things that can benefit everyone.  Medianism is a rule of thumb for deciding when inequality has become excessive.  Medianism is needed in the US because we passed the point of harmfully excessive inequality decades ago and most Americans still don’t realize it.

Thought leaders in economics and business rarely express any awareness of their moral philosophy, but it shapes their actions and our lives. It is important to expose the ethical failures of mutilitarianism and cajole its accidental adherents into self-examining their unwitting moral beliefs so that we can have a more just society. But merely pointing out the ethical failures of a moral philosophy is unlikely to convince anyone to abandon it because nobody likes an ideological vacuum. Mmutilitarianism is based on false axioms and it systematically leads to ethical errors, but it fills a practical purpose for guiding decisions about what is good for “the economy” because it is a convenient, simple ethical system that helps avoid some egregious kinds of errors.  Society needs an ethical system to guide economic policy, and mmutilitarianism currently fills this important niche.   A better alternative is medianism, which focuses more on the average person instead of the average dollar.  Medianism is not utopian; it is also a flawed ethical system.  But medianism is a substantial improvement, and it is pragmatic because it can fill the niche where mmutilitarianism currently thrives.  Medianism offers practical alternatives to mmutilitarian prescriptions.  For example:

  1. End the tyranny of GDP over our lives.  Median Expected Lifetime Income (MELI) is superior in every way for making comparisons of economic welfare.  Also see:
  2. Reform cost-benefit analysis with median-benefit analysis.
  3. Some inequality is desirable because some inequality can benefit everyone, but excessive inequality can hurt almost everyone and it is the bigger danger.  We should aim to achieve an amount of inequality that benefits people below the median as much as it benefits as the elites.  Also see:
  4. Money is an unreliable proxy for utility because its marginal utility is not constant. Diminishing marginal utility (dimeu) is a more realistic basis for economic policy.  Dimeu implies that median income is a better statistic for wellbeing than mean income (per-capita GDP) which is our current standard.
  5. Ethical egoism (selfishness) is not a virtue.  Generosity is better.
  6. Success should not be measured by how much power one has over the rest of the world but by how much of ones resources are contributed to the lives of others, particularly people below the median.
  7. Everyone can contribute something to the world, but the more powerful half of society in particular has a noble responsibility to help the needier half.
  8. Democracy is the best political system, but all democracies are flawed because they do not accurately measure the will of the majority (the median voter).  For example, they disproportionately obey the preferences of elites over the preferences of the majority. That is the most important problem for political scientists to work on.  How can we make democracies more responsive to the median voter?  Once we figure that out, then the second biggest problem will be to get the median voter to make good choices.  With power comes responsibility and the majority should make choices that are kind to less powerful minorities.
  9. The middle class should be defined using simple statistics.  All politicians claim to love the middle class, but even social scientists don’t agree on a definition for what that means.  If we cannot even define the middle class, we cannot hope to measure which politicians are living up to their rhetoric.  The middle tercile or the middle half are the two most logical definitions, but most people have never even heard of a tercile and we haven’t invented a word for the middle half yet.

All ideologies are shaped by competing ideologies and medianism was formed to address the longstanding problems of mmutilitarianism. Medianism isn’t going to solve all our problems, but it can help heal problems caused by the insidious influence of mmutilitarianism.  Mmutilitarians often think that they can avoid ethics by being positivists, but that is the positivist fallacy, one of the founding principles of mmutilitarianism.