Absolutely amazed at the attitude of the upwardly mobile towards those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder.
If someone has assets of $1,000,000+ then they are in the top 0.7% of the worlds population.
Assets of 100,000 put you in the top 8 or 9%.
These seem to be the people who complain about…
a) how poor they are
b) how they need so much more
c) how hard they work
d) how undeserving the poor are
e) how these undeserving poor get too much
Well, compared to everyone else they most certainly aren’t ‘poor.’
They may want more but they definitely don’t need more.
They may work hard but so do many others, and for much less financial reward.
d) and e) become moot points.
They also seem to be the ones who do the least for others, especially those less financially placed. They have a regulatory and enforcement system that protects property in their possession. They don’t pick up hitch-hikers, take homeless people in, provide food to shelters and struggling families, visit the elderly, pick up the rubbish in the streets, etc. They expect the state to do this with the taxes they don’t pay. Except they’d rather NOT be required to pay their taxes and thereby force everyone else to work as hard as they do to accumulate possessions… or starve.
Unfortunately our economic system is essentially closed (ok, maybe the odd small drip (inflation or an expanding economy) makes its way in). This means that if we have ‘winners’ we will have ‘losers.’ By definition we can’t all win the lottery.
Definition of work.
People who enrich themselves are seen as ‘working’, even if they wreck the economy, the environment (even by decreasing bio-diversity), or communities. People who are passive, or operate in a low or no-wage economy, even if they add to the economy, protect the environment, or help build strong communities, are seen as lazy and undeserving.
Definition of Value
The hard-working, upwardly mobile, see themselves as ‘adding value’ to society. But this is valid within only one out of a myriad of value systems:
Instead of the pursuit of personal gain we could instead put other things at the top of value tree…
- the environment
- arts and crafts e.g. workmanship, creativity
- community cohesion
- conservation of resources
- spirituality/holiness (in a general sense)
People would be valued by how much they contributed to these goals…. and denigrated in proportion to their disregarding these tenets.
I believe that many people demonize those below them on the economic ladder because it helps the rich justify what they are doing for themselves.
Anyone climbing the ladder has a very strong incentive to keep things the way they are, or even to change the rules to further advantage themselves.
This is the ultimate selfishness.
They thrive because 100 others below them are buying their goods and services, because other people service them, because they live in a stable economy, and because they have had advantages that others haven’t. These advantages could include:
- luck of birth to well-off parents. Inherited wealth is the easiest way to get rich
- luck of birth in a wealthy country.
- a good education
- a particularly strong drive to succeed
- intelligence and/or aptitude and/or opportunity for producing/providing a valued economic commodity
Whatever they’ve done they haven’t done it by themselves. Ultimate hubris.