Did you click? Good. Now continue. Here, this is gonna be hard, really hard, trust me i need to pamper y’all. It is a heavy solution which cuts like a scalpel and hurts just as bad. There’s gonna be blood.
The main factor responsible for the deepening inequality is inheritance, in particular the extensiveness of it.
Lets fix this. Fixing inequality at a high scale means tweaking, not abolishing, not ruthlessly wiping, but tweaking the basic factor that creates it: inheritance.
Let all inequality you can get be attainable in one’s life, but make it gone after one’s death. That way, your incentive Mr. Graham is still there, and you can manufacture as much inequality as you want, your societal protection Holly Wood is there and you can come up with ways to make it work for the greater good.
If we’d tweak inheritance in a way that it is reasonable, than both the individual, who during a lifetime can reach hard to imagine heights of wealth and access, and the society, blessed with individuals being extraordinary outliers, will benefit.
Inheritance is the biggest factor underlying low social mobility. Inheritance seeds inequality and as decades pass it fuels the deepening of the gaps between social classes. Inheritance has created the cyclical inequality we repeatedly must face, even as wars and disease erase it from time to time.
It is not humanly fair for people who have done nothing to be entitled to wealth because of ancestry. Heirs are completely overvalued.
Tweaking inheritance is better than taxing the rich. Let people own their success but not their succession.
How then to tweak inheritance? There are some ways: tax it like gamble winnings is one. Being born into riches is sheer luck, we should tax this as if you won the jackpot. I am sure we could come up with more complex solutions made up by experts in this type of law. How much is human right and how much is human obligation?
Mr. Graham entices us to imagine a world with even more inequality. Easy.
Let’s say we colonize Mars and Europa. Who do you think will go there after the initial boom of adventurers? I think a lot of poor people trying to break trough. Earth will become a heaven like luxury real estate, and all poor souls doomed across the future abyssal inequality gaps, will have no way to rent a life in the lush beauty of our home world. Elon Musk might want to help us colonize Mars in fear of cataclysms, but if such events will simply not occur, I am afraid the combo of libertarian fortune makers and ruthless do-gooders will not craft the future we’re told to dream of.
Let’s say we invent artificial life. We could extend our existence in a virtual reality and hang around there long after our physical bodies will die. Again, inequality will play the joke on us. Reality, the real reality, will become a luxury, an inaccessible real estate owned by the few at the top. The crowd will get old in pods. It will not be long, maybe a century, until someone will put newborns in pods directly. Do you think there will be a shortage of future Mr. Grahams to explain how you must be intelligent and smart if you want a shot at life outside V.R., in a “real” body? Oh, how i fear it.
Let’s say we crack A.I. Artificial intelligence, not artificial life. Well, umair haque nailed pretty well how technology that seems amazing can make life worse. He calls it low technology. What he doesn’t grasp is that we need low technology to fund high technology. Capitalism is O.K. It is inequality that breaks things. When people up on the top of the social pyramid control high tech and trickle down “consumer” technologies we end up in self driving cars with hard coded algorithms that save “select” outliers and their offspring. It is OUR human nature, and if we don’t think ahead we won’t help ourselves out of creating this future.
A future with more technology and more inequality is inherently dystopian.
A future with more technology and less inequality is inherently utopian.
A future with less technology and less inequality is a dangerous play while flying on a rock in space.
A future with less technology and more inequality is how revolutions start.
Lets tweak inheritance. It is a win win solution. It is liberal and socialist at the same time! Low intervention in one’s life, total intervention in one’s death. It is not OK to have ourselves run and governed by testaments of great dead leaders. We need living people to take the lead. Then leave economy and capitalism at work.
How would you tweak inheritance? Have inheritance taxed like casino wins? Have only real estate, housing and land (which is the biggest inequality producing factor in history) removed from inheritance? Both?