As left-wing as I am, I try to avoid reading leftist articles- they usually get their facts straight but then drive home the point with something out of nowhere. Like turning an article on coal protests into some sort of Peta sound off. Left-extremists seem to have this idea of solidarity, as though everyone who’s not on the right side of the spectrum agrees on everything by default.
So I get bits of info here and there, posted from facebook, etc. I ran into this interesting piece a few weeks ago from a friend (who usually posts the aforementioned very-left-articles). It describes how the U.S.’s wealth is broken down, in what I usually see referred to as the 80/20 rule (really, the Pareto Principle): 80% of the wealth is owned by 20% of the people. Now, I’ve been seeing similar calculations for years, especially in the last decade; and when you get into the top wealthiest, it becomes extremely disproportionate.
What’s interesting to me is that, in these pieces, there’s usually some call to take action, or at least there’s an implied question of unfairness. And that strikes me as not only a little jealous, but ignorant as well. I’m fucking poor. I currently have about 80 dollars to my name. I don’t own any property or assets. I can’t afford a car, or car insurance, or gas. I can barely make rent and eat. But none of that, nor the constant awareness that if it wasn’t for supportive family members I’d be out on the street or going hungry, makes me blame the wealthy for my circumstances. I’m not storming up to the mayor’s gate with a pitchfork and a torch, demanding my cut.
It’s not that I’m unaware that many of those people earned their money through unscrupulous means, or by taking advantage of others. And no, many of them probably do not deserve their money bins in a fair world. But we don’t live in a fair world. The world is decidedly unfair, and it always has been. Unless one’s plan is to go down Forbes top 20 and take their money by force (and good luck with that), exactly what kind of action are we supposed to take?
My second point is short: If you’re that concerned that a handful of people have the gold, does that not make you just as greedy? And no, I don’t buy socialist shared wealth. There is no system of equal wealth so well planned out that somebody won’t find a way to take advantage of it, and then we’d be back to the same game we started with.