The belief in free will as define here, allows people to justify wealth inequality. It creates notions of blame and ideas about “deserve” that are irrational with the understanding that we couldn’t have, of our own accord, done otherwise. The above infographic just gives a quick snippet of how free will belief allows excessive wealth inequality rationalization.
Here is something I wrote a while back and just updated it with more recent numbers:
If I were to distribute all of my wealth to the poor, I would in turn become one of the poor. This is a catch 22. To live a minimally desire-able lifestyle one must horde a minimum amount of what they do have, and save money for a rainy day. People who claim they want wealth equally distributed are criticized for not distributing their own wealth. They are told that if they truly believed in equal distribution that they should give everything they have to the poor…in turn making them-self poverty-stricken as well. Those critics miss the larger point.
If everyone on the planet placed all of their wealth (assets, etc) into one large bucket, and that wealth was distributed evenly to each person, there would not be a single person in poverty. No one would be starving. No one would have insufficient shelter or clothing. No one would be missing out on the basic necessities of life.
Why is that? Because a small percentage of the population owns the largest percentage of wealth.
There are over 7.3 billion people in the world and counting fast, and less than a half of 1% of those people are millionaires. According to a report by CreditSuisse , Millionaires and Billionaires (USD) controlled 44% of all global wealth in 2014. Think about what it means that 44% of all wealth is distributed within a half of 1% (or 0.5%) of the entire population of the world.
To see this lets minimize our numbers down to 200 people and the distribution of $100 total wealth. 1 person would own $44 of that $100 pot. If we were to split the rest up evenly between everyone else, that is 33 cents per person. 1 person with $44, everyone else with $0.33. But the rest is not distributed evenly either.
Over 70% of adults worldwide have wealth below $10,000 USD. Keep in mind that world-wide wealth is 263 trillion. Half of the global population collectively own less than 1% of global wealth, while the richest 10% of adults own 87% of all wealth, and the top 1% account for almost half of all assets in the world.
In other words, in our $100 scenario, 50% (100 people) of the 200 people would each own less than .01 cents of the $100 total wealth. In other words 50% of the people would split less than $1 amongst them-self.
One can begin to see how 2% of the wealthiest could make a drastic change in the world – in such a way that poverty really would not exist.
Most people don’t bother to think about these things. They just go about their consumerist and capitalistic lives without giving it a thought. Or if they do give it a thought they conjure up some sort of blameworthiness to the unwealthy and deservingness to the wealthy. Of course those at the extreme ends of wealth are more deserving than the other 98 to 99% of the planet, right?
Of course not. If you have been following my blog at all you would know I’ve written a book about the lack of free will. In it I expose these ideas of blameworthiness and being more or less deserving as inherently flawed. Flaws caused by a “free will” psychology.
Do I advocate complete equalization of wealth? No – not until far in the future with (hopefully) a complete mindset change of the majority of the population. Not until such “free will” psychology gets weeded out. Of course I go into this in detail within my book. I readily admit the need for personal incentive to those ego driven in the meantime.
Do I advocate some sort of cap on the extreme side of wealth?
Take a guess.
To put this another way, great wealth inequality is rampant in the world. And if those on the extreme end of wealth are no more deserving of such excess than anyone else, that implies we are allowing way too much unfettered capitalism. What is the best solution? It’s hard to say. On one side, the majority of people believe in free will and believe in notions of “deserve”. Playing to those psychologies is important. On the other side, the extreme inequalities we have are excessive and allowing for great harms in the world. It seems until people recognize that we don’t have free will and understand the implications of such, an economic balancing act needs to be played.
But education over the important topic of free will (why we don’t have it and what it implies that we do not) is crucial to our rational human progress.
Check out other infographics about the free will topic: INFOGRAPHICS
If you find any helpful, please share with a link back to the page with the infographic. Thanks! – ‘Trick