The Rich do not deserve to be rich

from TheDailyCollegian

Think of any virtue that you would like to see rewarded: hard work, intelligence, creativity, generosity, kindness. Capitalism does not reward any of these. In some cases it even punishes people who practice them. Capitalism punishes hard work, because the people who work the hardest, most grueling, most unpleasant jobs – mining coal, digging tunnels, cleaning toilets – are usually among the lowest paid.

Capitalism does not reward intelligence because the most intelligent people with the most years of education – like scientists and doctors – are not the ones who become super-rich.

Capitalism does not reward creativity because creative people – artists, musicians, inventors – can end up anywhere from dirt poor to very rich.

And capitalism certainly does not reward generosity, kindness or any other human values. In fact, you get punished for caring about others. A boss who is generous to his workers will get driven out of business by Wal-Mart, and people who dedicate their lives to others (e.g. social workers) get paid very little. The fact that many people are still generous anyway is an amazing testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of the evils of capitalism. I can only imagine how many more people would act that way if we lived in a society that didn’t give us incentives to be selfish and greedy.

What capitalism rewards is greed and ruthlessness. If you have these two things, then – and only then – will you succeed. The greed of the bankers on Wall Street is not an accident. We live in an economic system that encourages us all to be like them, by creating vast inequalities of wealth and putting the worst people on top. That needs to change. So when the defenders of capitalism ask us why we demand equality or why we occupy Wall Street, this should be our first answer: Because the rich do not deserve to be rich.


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