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To not understand why so many people view the wealth of others as public property

(530 Posts)
FrogspawnSmoothie Sun 09-Aug-20 06:08:54

I've been noticing a lot of posts lately saying things like 'we need to sort out the wealth divide' etc and calling for the wealthy to pay for xyz 'because they can afford to', and I must say I've never quite shared this mentality.

I can see why people start to think this way when we're constantly told things like '99% of the nation's wealth is owned by 1% of the population', making it sound like they're hoarding resources. But the thing is, it's not a tin of biscuits given to the population which is now being hoarded by a few greedy chubsters. It may well have been foreign investment, for instance, which wasn't otherwise going to be invested in a UK business to then benefit the economy through taxes as it does. I go to work and earn my income, and that money is mine - I imagine most people would consider their paycheck to be their own.

I think of it like two farmers. One innovates in his processes and works out how to grow more apples with the same resources. He then reinvests his extra profit into better equipment and buys more land. Eventually, he owns 75% of the apples in the town, despite being only one of many farmers. I'm not convinced he now needs to start giving his apples to the other disgruntled farmers who envy his wealth, especially as he's now paying much more tax.

I'll admit it's a pretty simplistic way of looking at it (I'm no economist) but I'm not convinced that all the people moaning about the rich have given it a particularly nuanced consideration either. I was listening to some prat of a manbunned barista banging on about socialism and 'redistribution of wealth' in Costa today, and gotta admit I just thought to myself 'sounds like you should've worked harder at school, mate.' 🤷‍♀️

OP’s posts: |
bungaloid Sun 09-Aug-20 06:17:29

The issue is that you believe, as do a lot of people, that everything in life was won through hard work. People with less wealth clearly didn't work hard enough. I don't believe that.

bungaloid Sun 09-Aug-20 06:21:35

To add another point to that, a progressive taxation system is a good way of slightly rebalancing the randomness of life.

TheoriginalLEM Sun 09-Aug-20 06:22:07

Yeah load of twaddle.

AutumnLeavesSeptember Sun 09-Aug-20 06:24:19

Sorry but you're missing the bigger picture here. It's not about earned income on the whole but about assets. Half of England is owned by 1% of the population, and a decent chunk of that is aristocracy. link. We've got a massive housing crisis because we rely on a small number of house builders who land bank to increase prices. Just forcing some builders to actually build would be a good start. And we do need some more effective asset taxes so that those with large land holdings pay a similar amount on asset income than earned income.

That's just one example. You might like a book called The Spirit Level that shows that the more inequality a country has the sicker they are. This stuff has real consequences. If you were a barista working in London you'd by paying £800 for a room in a council flat. In some parts of the country things are really dire for low waged people due to the lack of reform in housing in particular.

Budbudbud Sun 09-Aug-20 06:29:37

I think of it like two farmers. One innovates in his processes and works out how to grow more apples with the same resources. He then reinvests his extra profit into better equipment and buys more land. Eventually, he owns 75% of the apples in the town, despite being only one of many farmers. I'm not convinced he now needs to start giving his apples to the other disgruntled farmers who envy his wealth, especially as he's now paying much more tax.

So basically you are one of the privileged who believe "anyone can be anything if they work hard enough"? And that the poor are poor because they spend their money wrong?

VashtaNerada Sun 09-Aug-20 06:29:57

If wealth belonged to the hardest-working, most altruistic people in society you might have a point. It doesn’t. Society is fundamentally corrupt because wealth is unevenly distributed in an unfair way. Some people are born with a greater chance of becoming rich than others regardless of intellect, drive or dedication to helping others.

FrogspawnSmoothie Sun 09-Aug-20 06:30:08

The issue is that you believe, as do a lot of people, that everything in life was won through hard work. People with less wealth clearly didn't work hard enough.

I think it's a lot more nuanced than that, but broadly speaking most strongly outspoken 'socialist' types I've met have been the green hair, anti capitalist types. Loads of the stoners I went to college with post on FB about redistribution of wealth etc alongside fruitcake conspiracy theories but honestly I wouldn't want to share my wealth with them if I was rich to be honest.

OP’s posts: |
Bumpitybumper Sun 09-Aug-20 06:31:46

It's a difficult one because I think your post ignores how intergenerational wealth and opportunity can skew the situation. So in your example with the farmers, the innovative farmer may well end up wealthier because of their talent and smart decision making. I think most sensible people think that those who work hard, are talented and make good choices should be rewarded.

What happens though in the future when the farmers go on to have children and the innovative farmer's children get more opportunities and advantages as a result of their father's wealth? They will be more likely to be successful. What if this is compounded over many generations so that the biggest determining factor regarding how wealthy and prosperous someone becomes is no longer how talented, innovative or hard working they are but more about how wealthy and well connected their family is?

Despite all this, I do have sympathy with your OP as there is definitely quite a sizeable faction of people that would like wealth to be equally distributed as it would remove the need for them to work hard and make sacrifices.

LongPauseNoReply Sun 09-Aug-20 06:32:02

I’ve been on both sides. I was a broke single parent working 3 jobs and now I’m in the 1%.

Not through family wealth, good luck or other vague reasons. I created my own business and built it up. It now earns me 7 figures a year.

Instead of seeing these resources as finite, we need to see them as available to anyone who wants them. If you’re working a salaried job you’re literally earning what someone else thinks your worth. So look for a business idea that will allow you to earn unlimited money.

Anyone can do what I did. I don’t have a degree, didn’t get any financial help to start, I had €100 to invest in my business and I used it to start my website.

Our education teaches us to be cogs in a machine, no school teaches kids how to be entrepreneurs. That’s where the issue lies - we’ve been taught that the limited resources are only available to a select few. It’s bullshit.

BitOfFun Sun 09-Aug-20 06:33:24

I think you need to read up on the concept of Surplus Value. Employees generate profit, not the mythical entreneurs.

Notabadger Sun 09-Aug-20 06:39:14

I think you mig be confusing income and wealth op

Morfin Sun 09-Aug-20 06:40:21

think of it like two farmers

Who by chance of birth were born into a family that owned a farm. Those that were born to the apple pickers, try and innovate to collect the apples. They work out a way of collecting them twice as fast. Farmer makes half his workforce redundant and makes an even bigger profit.

FrogspawnSmoothie Sun 09-Aug-20 06:42:49

I do think that in general if you get a good education and work hard you've got a good chance of attaining a decent quality of life - with there being exceptions of course where some people suffer unfortunate obstacles due to matters outside of their control (illness, disability, poverty whilst growing up, etc). An example of this is young women pulling ahead in education over the past couple of decades then overtaking young men in earnings.

I think some people want it all but unfortunately you probably can't be a blue haired punk with loads of piercings and get a job in most senior corporate roles. There are obv other paths but most successful businesspeople I know have had to make sacrifices in order to succeed. I personally took what I consider to be a compromise by quitting office work and training in a more site based role which pays reasonably well but isn't nearly as stifling and corporate. I'm unlikely to ever make six figures but I make £50k with almost zero daily stress (although I do graft). If I go self employed I could maybe make £85k but that'd be the limit in all probability.

OP’s posts: |
LonginesPrime Sun 09-Aug-20 06:43:36

One innovates in his processes and works out how to grow more apples with the same resources

That analogy doesn't represent reality though, does it? We don't all start off in life with the same resources.
*
I just thought to myself 'sounds like you should've worked harder at school, mate.'*

What a smug, shitty attitude. This is a perfect example of the fact that money can't buy class.

JuniperFather Sun 09-Aug-20 06:43:38

Op @FrogspawnSmoothie before you come on here to preach economics you might want to use a better example than your primary school patronising apple farmer one.

Of course a hard working apple farmer who innovates should be allowed to hold onto the rewards of their labour. But these things don't happen in a kind of level playing field vacuum. There's this assumption in your example that every time a farmer comes to the table, they have the same level playing field. No intergenerational wealth to fall back on if a crop is ruined, or if one quickly wants to diversify.

Everyone who is a capitalist uses this kind of analogy - we all want to see the "I started with one shop and ended up with 280 in three countries" stories. It's the foundation of why many people strive.

It's what happens however once you hit a certain level of scale that's interesting.

Getting outside of the farmer analogy stuff.... how do people on here feel about the likes of Amazon?

Our government and many others are staring up at them, wide eyed, in hock to the promise of a trickle down system where Amazon employs lots of "fulfilment" people... yet it pays so little in tax in the country it operates in, uses and pounds it's roads as much as any other retailer, sells its goods to millions of UK users and generates enormous profits from..

Wealth creation does not mean an abrogation of societal responsibility.

labyrinthloafer Sun 09-Aug-20 06:43:39

Oh I can't even be bothered.

Read some books. The second post about green hair just warrants a biscuit.

As if someone juggling jobs on minimum wage whilst also bringing up their kids is an 'anticapitalist' with green hair.

Goady thread imo.

RandomTree Sun 09-Aug-20 06:45:05

OP, if you want to educate yourself about this topic (and it sounds like you are genuinely interested) there are lots of recent books on the subject. Try Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvey.

Pollyputthepizzaon Sun 09-Aug-20 06:45:16

Yanbu

labyrinthloafer Sun 09-Aug-20 06:47:22

Oh, and it's blue hair with piercings by post three.

This thread is pathetic and the whole premise it is based on is a fairytale.

Read some books about the real Britain.

Devilishpyjamas Sun 09-Aug-20 06:48:57

‘Socialist types’ hmm

I went to Oxford many years ago and a number of contemporaries are now running the country. DH and I were discussing the other day how, even amongst our contemporaries wealth was largely inherited. The richest are the ones who were rich as students due to family money.

I have noted a lot of wealthy people think they deserve to be paid more and work harder. Personally I think the people doing 12-24 hour care shifts with my son deserve to be paid more & work harder - it’s an incredibly skilled job and many of the wealthy people I know could not do it.

We value the wrong things in the UK. We value jobs that create money rather than those that contribute to wellbeing. Until that changes inequality will grow & that benefits no-one - inequality is steady a huge problem in this country.

FrogspawnSmoothie Sun 09-Aug-20 06:49:23

What if this is compounded over many generations so that the biggest determining factor regarding how wealthy and prosperous someone becomes is no longer how talented, innovative or hard working they are but more about how wealthy and well connected their family is?

Well, it's a bitter apple (pardon the pun) for those not born into wealth, but I'm still not convinced it gives anyone else the claim to a share of your money. It's like how we're fortunate to be born in the UK and not Somalia. Of course, in an ideal world the wealthy and fortunate would be philanthropic but that's another discussion.

OP’s posts: |
BringMeTea Sun 09-Aug-20 06:50:54

Oh don't bother feeding the goat. grin biscuit

dontdisturbmenow Sun 09-Aug-20 06:51:41

The issue is that people look at as a white or black subject when those who we really consider in the argument fall into the grey.

We focus on very few individuals or organisations and then expand the view on those who earn a good income and or managed to invest and suddenly, they fall under the same category even though they are in a much shader grade of grey.

The issue is that you believe, as do a lot of people, that everything in life was won through hard work. People with less wealth clearly didn't work hard enough. I don't believe that
This is the perfect example of the above. We look at those very rich people who for their fortune through family, never worked in their lives etc...

Yet most who got there to a certain level of income/investment gave done so through dedication and hard work. This might have started simply through thinking. Thinking of clever ideas of product development when their friends were thinking of the next girl to chase.

We live in a society that encourages envy. Medias are full of temptations because that's what gets people viewing. We want what others have and think we are entitled to it because these people are not so different to us. We focus on what they have Andare not interested in how they got there.

Envy leads to resentment, and then to hate. I don't agree with your examples to illustrate the point OP, but yes, there is definitely a sense of entitlement to what belongs to others in our growing society.

LonginesPrime Sun 09-Aug-20 06:52:07

I'm unlikely to ever make six figures but I make £50k with almost zero daily stress (although I do graft). If I go self employed I could maybe make £85k but that'd be the limit in all probability.

If you'd have worked harder at school OP, you could make £50k without grafting at all!

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