Why we let the rich get richer?

Free access to scriptures religious leaders try to censor

I think you should read all the other answers first. Like Eric. This is for the cynical:

It’s the cynical answer. I know. The more ethical answer is because it’s “fair”. However, for how “fairness” somehow becomes reality requires a little “process”. Fairness, is not just moral. It’s practical, and profitable. It took times for us to realize it, but we finally did.

The basic idea of is that under capitalism, people get rich through productivity. So it doesn’t matter how they get rich, they are benefiting everyone else.

The problem with that idea is, while seems fair and noble, is not actually how things work.

In ancient time, emperors are rich and unproductive and the people “let them” even more than people let the rich get rich now.


Emperors are strong. Some people know enough politics and enough business skills to lead. If some peasants would protest, emperors would kill them along with their families.

People are selfish. They do not max out their profit based on their income like in sunday school economy class. People maximize their profit based on their power.

Here is an easy way to see this. Deep inside, all species, including humans, just want to pass on their genes to the next. If we want to see how much power some men have, just look at the number of wives they have. Emperors have a lot. Capitalists do not. Capitalists, while rich, are not powerful, and hence don’t get “what they want” as much as emperors.

So issue is not merit. The issue is power. However, merit and power has a positive causality. To get power, you need people to agree. For people to agree you need to benefit them. That’s in a sense merit.

If we really do not like disparity of success, shouldn’t we complaint about disparity of power instead?

In fact, how power often override productively earned wealth is the very reason why people complain why the rich get richer. Complaining against the rich pays because the rich are weak and who knows we can rob them. Complaining against the powerful doesn’t.

So the question then become obvious. If the rich are weak anyway, why the mass, which are stronger, let them be rich? That seems to be the heart of the question. Forget about right and wrong. It’s not real. We’re selfish. Why do the mass let the rich be rich? Why not tax the rich to death and grab the money?

Actually they did. Ask jews, armenian, borgueis in China and tax payers in US.

But then the world stop doing that.

Let’s examine first how the world become the way it is.

300 years ago, a wise sage, Adam Smith, wrote wealth of nations. Now the best and brightest among us have choice. They can still make money productively or they can be dictators. Before the latter is the only choice. Before the only way to get truly rich is to be king. As the former start becoming lucrative, that’s what many smart people do.

Things don’t go as well as planned. Money is not equal with power. Well money is a form of power. There are far greater power than money. Namely political power.

Armenians and jews learn this the hard way. They earned money productively, cause resentment, and get killed.

However, the word seems to have a karma like behavior (though i still don’t think it’s as perfect as Buddha think it is).

Imagine the world where the productive get slaughtered. Would you bother being productive? Any society that fail to embrace free market are riddled with corruption, and political strife. Everyone is worst off.

We’re not dumb. We always come up with ways to move our self to equilibrium that’s “better”. What works in some is then tried in others. Through experience free market tend to produce good results. So the rest of the world follow and do it.

So the question of why we allow the rich to get richer is because it is toward our best interest to do so. Should we not, the best and brightest among us will become corrupt and dictators we will all pay the price.

Some may think that we shouldn’t because disparity of wealth is “bad”. Well, just look at emperors. Just look at disparity of wealth and power in socialist countries. Disparities always exist. Do we want that to happen because somebody is more productive or do we want that to happen because somebody has more gun?

Here is another way to look at it.

The smart can:
1. Be dictators
2. Be corrupt
3. Be productive

The mass can:
1. Support free market
2. Support socialism

For thousands of years we’re on 1,2 strategy. It’s natural then that we evolve into 3,2. It’s more lucrative.

Before, even though I am rich productively, I will still be affraid of being sent to some concentration camp by the powerful. Knowing that I try to be powerful, which is not very productive. It’s to the best interest of society then to guarantee my right to live and spend money as I please. As that get taken care of, I start becoming productive.

You see how the process works? You see how both businessmen and the mob benefited?

Now recently something even more interesting happen. It’s called globalization.

The best and brightest among us has the 4th option. They can live. They can move their factories to China to avoid minimum wage oppression, for example.

This put countries to be more like business. Each countries can only charge so much out of their productive members. Too much, and like customers they shop around.

Imagine the world before globalization.

I produced a light bulb. Someone else make better light bulbs. So I pay thugs to kill him. Now I sell more light bulbs. I generated more revenue and profit. If the extra money is bigger than the thugs’ cost, of course I do that.

In fact, that’s what happened in third world countries for years. Rather than spending resources productively, they spend resources bribing politicians to give them favors and quite often literally send thugs. Disparity of wealth happen anyway. Politicians get richer and richer.

It’s only natural. In a sense, it’s not too unfair. If the people are ignorance and resort to force, it’s natural that someone that’s not ignorance, namely the corrupt politicians, collect the money instead.

Political influence on biz created some form of niche that politicians simply fill, like businessmen.

Now under globalization, if I send thugs to beat up competing stores, I will still have to compete with chinese. No win solution. It doesn’t pay to pay thugs anymore.

Now those who used to be thugs and corrupt politicians obviously do not like globalization. That’s why they keep fighting for a while, become terrorists or something. But again, karma will work again. People are fed up with them. They’re getting killed. And good system, like free trades flourish again.

So the answer of why we let the rich, rich, is because they/someone else will be rich anyway even if we don’t let them. It’s just that they’ll be rich through ways not favorable to us.

Hei what about another option. I can lie. I can trick people that the government is fair and then screw the productive. Or I can trick the people that free market doesn’t work. Again, this gets difficult due to proliferation of internet. Truth prefails over falsehood thanks to abundant information.

Now, perhaps, just perhaps. The people still want to be a socialist. Well some socialism could work. Libertarian would argue it’s wrong, but I am a cynic. I care only about profits, not right and wrong.

As we see in Denmark it sort of work. However, that’s because people in Denmark is smarter. It takes skill to rob from the rich and give to ones’ self. Also it can only go so far because if they charge too much, the productive can always go somewhere else.

Most countries are not that smart. They do not know political science. Hell, they believe in religions. They do not understand that humans maximize profit. They think people are moral. They do not see that humans’ interests create morality. They think it’s God.

If I were a businessmen in that country, I would just bribe the religious leaders. Why bother being nice to the people if the people will blindly obey whatever nonsense the religious leaders spit out rather than seeing by themselves what’s good for them and whether they’re getting what they want.

This is of course what religious leaders want. That’s why, in countries like Indonesia we have pogroms against those who think differently. That’s why we have censorship that keep people in the dark. And that’s why Indonesians are not as rich as the rest of the world.

In a sense, that’s like karma too. The more ignorant the people, the poorer they will be. The more they tolerate or accept terrorism, the more terrorists will there be, raising biz costs.

After evolution and experience, the most lucrative system even for the poor is capitalism. Due to information age, everybody knows that. That’s why capitalism prefail everywhere. That’s why we let the rich getting richer. Because it’s most profitable for us, and because now we know it. Because human race has tried everything else and doesn’t perform as well as this.

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