It’s a surprising simplistic idea but, why doesn’t wealth have an upper set limit in society?
A simple statistics by OXFAM this year states that the richest 1% hold more wealth than the rest of the people combined.
The answer the question stated above is quite simple. Wealth doesn’t have an upper limit because the individuals who own enough wealth to bother soon found out that they could make even more profit by cornering the law-making process. Thus economical power became political power, and wealth accumulation ensued.
Of course today this is done in practice by corporations and organizations. There is no need to tell that it’s not in their interest to have a limit for themselves.
As the relations became more complex, more and more safeguards and insurances to protect assets where put in practice. These include both physical methods (ie banking, security) to more powerful social methods such as:
- alienation to the real status of wealth concentration;
- creating the illusion that ordinary people will ever become rich;
- carefully segregating society into social classes (for example, certain places can only be accessed by people in the upper class);
- restricting access to education, particularly one that questions.
Today is a safe bet to say that, unless there were a major rupture in society (and I mean really major) these safeguards would deter any attempt to change this status. We live in our own cage of a system.
And our system isn’t able to correct itself against the most serious problems such as global warming and global inequality.
I say hit the ‘reboot button’ in society, starting by setting a cap and redistributing the wealth.
But do it in a non-violent way, by organized gradual awareness and polarization. Sure Gandhi taught us a trick or two. You could still count any extra money earned as a point system, if you care for measuring and comparing earnings.
I doesn’t even need to be a small cap, it can be enough to allow a relative luxurious life style. There is plenty of wealth around to give everyone more than enough to survive.
If you are still not convinced, it’s important when you read these plain statistics about wealth concentration to have this mental image:
[The vulture and the little girl, famous 1993 Pulitzer photo by Kevin Carter image source]
This is the other end of being rich. There is only so much wealth in this world, and if you have too much then someone is short of it. We mask it by saying that this is caused by country poverty, but in reality there isn’t much difference. Certainly doesn’t make a difference to that child.
Any moral being of conviction would refuse to be rich on principle, with the exception of those who do it to help others. To quote a series, we comforted ourselves in the knowledge that it really wasn’t our fault, not really.
[IMAGE: US S5 dollar bill, portraying Lincoln image source]