Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why the Rich are Allowed to be Rich

Did you ever ask yourself why some people get paid more than other, sometimes inordinately more; millions and billions of dollars in some cases; while we, the masses of non-rich, let it happen?

I mean do you ever really ask yourself, not just bitch and moan about it?

Perhaps the logic of alowing such seeming excesses (if one wishes to argue there is logic to accumulated wealth beyond power and greed) has to do with humankind's great respect for the human mind. We Americans (and perhaps all of human society) unconsciously believe (or have been taught to believe) that the human mind is the greatest single factor in lifting us from the lower animal realm. Following this logic, we allow multi-million-$$$ salaries to go to those few whose contributions to society are considered primarily mental and imaginative, who seem able to connect dots better than anyone else; albeit these dots that are manufactured by the labor of the lower salaried people. The lowered salaried can build the cars in factories, cook the meals, heal a broken arm, but they cannot conceive of the design of a car, or of building the robotic machines that work side by side with them, and/or maneuver the vast networks of distributing cars. light of this, we accept that riches rightfully accrue to the imaginative and innovative.

We value exceedingly Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Sam Walton and others, those who think of new inventions and/or new systems of production and distribution; and we agree that because of those contributions they are allowed to become obscenely rich. In our democratic society, we--except for die-hard Marxists--seem to agree that a disproportionate share of wealth should rightfully go to them. The rest of us, the lower salaried people who create the dots, who do physical work; and by physical work I mean not only menial work, but even mental chores that can be seen as almost repetitive and certainly not imaginative (work that is, almost physical, in a sense, by rote): the work done by assembly workers, cooks, accountants, dentists, and even doctors or lawyers, are willingly and proportionally considered of much lesser value.

W all--all humankind in general--revere the mind, and accept its transcendence. We pay homage, obeisance to the contribution of the "imaginers". We allow them to be disproportionally rich because we recognize the great value that their creative and imaginative innovation confer on us. We get angry when they get greedy, of course, when they unnecessarily accumulate power and unfairly expand their power positions; but we have great tolerance for their richness. We understand the incentive-producing value of it.

Perhaps that is why there will always be the rich, and they will always be the poor? The allocation of mental ability is disproportionately given by our Creator (or by the unemotional hand of evolution) to a disproportionate few--whom we all envy, but even more tellingly, respect and benefit from. So we bow before the value their scarce human minds, and its capacity to connect the dots, to create a new and better future for us all, and we recognize and respect that the mental power is not equally distributed amongst humankind. Therefore, those not so blessed, are willing to live--economically and financially, and disproportionally--according to that fact of a non-democratic reality.


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