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To disagree with inheritance as a concept

(260 Posts)
HeadsDownThumbsUp Mon 03-Jun-13 22:41:24

Just that. I think it's odd that the concept of inheritance is barely questioned in our society.

I don't think that anyone can really talk about social mobility in a meaningful way, or interrogate the class system, while wealth is still inherited.

Inheritance IS the class system.

In my opinion, inherited wealth is incompatible with a meritocratic society. It is also add odds with entrepreneurialism, and more generally the notion that wealth is earned through hard work, and thus deserved.

Thoughts?

hiddenhome Mon 03-Jun-13 22:44:49

Perhaps hmm

But, it's still bloody great being able to benefit from it grin

Verycold Mon 03-Jun-13 22:45:13

I think taking it away would remove one of the main motivators for success.

HesterShaw Mon 03-Jun-13 22:47:16

I take it you're not in line for one? Are you talking about ALL inherited wealth or just posh people with their big houses and possible titles? Where would you think your parents' assets should go when they died for example?

hiddenhome Mon 03-Jun-13 22:48:21

It's natural to want to hand an inheritance over to your children. If you've worked hard all your life, or you have family money, then why not? It's up to people what they do with their money.

CajaDeLaMemoria Mon 03-Jun-13 22:48:31

What would happen to left over wealth in your world?

If it couldn't be passed on, most people either wouldn't save, wouldn't invest or would spend everything before they got to an age where they couldn't. Society would have to fund more care bills (less assets to use) as well as missing out on inheritance tax which can add up. How would you account for the lack of income from that, along with a lack of savings and assets in general?

pointythings Mon 03-Jun-13 22:49:56

I'm not sure. My parents are wealthy. They've worked all their lives, paid taxes and been frugal with money. Where should that money go? IMO it should go where they bloody well want it to go. Whether that be Doggersea Bats' Home or DSis and me - up to them. DSis and I have spent the last 15 years encouraging them to spend it on themselves and they have - think dream holidays, 3 months in New Zealand or the US - but there is still plenty left for us. And frankly, I trust myself to spend it wisely more than I trust the tax man, because the tax man serves politicians.

deleted203 Mon 03-Jun-13 22:50:53

Having worked my bollocks off all my days I'd be highly pissed off, frankly, if anything I manage to leave was taken off my DCs and used 'for the greater good of society'.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 03-Jun-13 22:51:01

YABU.

People accrue wealth or prized possession great or small over the course of their lives. None of your business if they choose to give it to their children/neighbours/local cats home.

Or is it only the very wealthy who shouldn't be allowed to inherit? Ever heard of inheritance tax? They pay their dues and it makes a difference unless we're talking phenomenal wealth.

hiddenhome Mon 03-Jun-13 22:51:37

How do you define 'undeserved wealth' too? Are lottery winners undeserving because they didn't work hard for their money? How about people who receive compensation? What about share dividends? Not all money is earned.

MalcolmTuckersMum Mon 03-Jun-13 22:53:29

I think you mean that only those nasty upper class inherited titles and huge country pile types should somehow be punished don't you? Or does your theory stretch to working class sorts too? Clarity is needed here to establish whether your idea is based in anything except a bit of toff-bashing.

WafflyVersatile Mon 03-Jun-13 22:59:28

From an evolutionary psych point of view we want to ensure the continuation of our genes. Providing for our children even when we are dead helps protect them and our grandchildren etc.

I agree that inheritance of wealth and (therefore) power is not conducive to a just society.

I'd still prefer to get a bit of money when my parents die than not. It won't be enough to make me wealthy or powerful though.

hiddenhome Mon 03-Jun-13 23:00:40

A lot of the toffs don't seem to have any actual cash, it's tied up in property or land. The toffs who do have cash seem to earn it from what I've learned (dh used to deal with them).

TigOldBitties Mon 03-Jun-13 23:01:26

What about people who die when they're children are young. It sounds like you're just talking about those who make it to adulthood before leaving a parent.

If you worked earned money and had accrued various assets like a house or savings and then died, say leaving behind 3 small children would you not want them to inherit that? I would incandescent at the that of them not getting it.

alpinemeadow Mon 03-Jun-13 23:06:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WafflyVersatile Mon 03-Jun-13 23:09:15

you're not going to get rid of inheritance without restructuring society.

All for it myself.

TheSecondComing Mon 03-Jun-13 23:10:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 03-Jun-13 23:11:48

Oh gosh the state would just suck it all up and spend it on crap. Inheritance is a huge motivator. It's a very communist type of OP.

grimbletart Mon 03-Jun-13 23:12:59

Well. the one sure thing is that it will probably be better used by your family than handing to a Government that is likely to piss it up the wall in some failed computer scheme or a ton of other stuff they waste it on.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Mon 03-Jun-13 23:13:23

I expected a lot of "none of your business"...which is fine, but I'm not talking about anyone in particular, just interested in querying it in abstract. No need to get your knickers in a twist.

I get that people see it as 'natural' - but that can be said of anything, and has said of all sorts of cultural practices since time began, and really means very little. Calling something 'natural' is not a useful argument, imo. No different from saying that it is conventional or traditional. I'm not really convinced by evolutionary psychology either, since I don't really think it is evidence based and ev psych 'approches' are often just wheeled out to support the status quo.

Am more interested in exploring the issue in theory, and don't want to get into personal details - but to get it out the way I will say that yes, I do stand to inherit. Frankly I would rather older relatives had spent the money while they were alive. Can anyone really say that we live in a meritocratic society when people's financial fortunes are shaped by inherited wealth?

I don't think it's true that inheritance drives aspiration, I think most people who want to have a lot of money would still focus on earning it. I'm not convinced it means people wouldn't save either. I do think it means that more capital generally would be untied and put to use in the whole economy though - instead of being locked up for generation after generation and doing nothing but perpetuate privilege.

I find it odd that we are continually told that wealth is the result of hard work, ingenuity and moral fibre, when so much of it is an accident of birth. Yet the concept of inheritance is barely ever addressed.

For what it's worth, I am not into 'bashing' the wealthy. I respect people who have built successful careers and businesses which provide them with a good income. I would genuinely like to live in a more meritocratic and entrepreneurial society. It just seems obvious that inherited wealth is entirely at odds with that.

namelessposter Mon 03-Jun-13 23:14:09

I agree. I don't want to inherit from parents, and I think a big inheritance would be a disaster for my children.

AKissIsNotAContract Mon 03-Jun-13 23:14:39

I think inheritance is a demotivator. I've always known I won't be getting much, which has made me work hard and earn my money. DP thinks he's getting a decent inheritance so isn't as fussed about his career.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 03-Jun-13 23:15:01

Of course it's a useful argument. The natural instinct to mind your children is what got us to this stage in the 21st century in the first place. And that's all it is, in the end. It's not a cultural practice - it's a survival and evolutionary imperative.

TigOldBitties Mon 03-Jun-13 23:15:25

Can you please answer my question, I can't fully tell yet how unreasonable you are being.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 03-Jun-13 23:16:01

"put to use in the whole economy"
I think Grimbletart's "pissing up the wall" might serve us better here.

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