Money Problems

There’s a problem with money. Well there’s more than one but this is a poignant one. Having money allows you to get more money. As biological creatures we want to leave things for our offspring (usually). These two together create an inevitable growing wealth disparity, regardless of how equal we start off. The poor get poorer and the rich get richer. Taxes are the only counter force but they only function when they are a smaller force. A 100% or greater tax would simply encourage criminal behaviour.

Let’s get down the layers to the root cause: money is how we quantify power. You can eliminate money but the same dynamic will occur with raw power, be it technology, weaponry, etc. Power accumulates. It’s an attractive force like gravity. It will clump together in larger and larger chunks. The more centralized the power, the greater we can manipulate the world around us. Not as individuals but as humanity. All the great structures of the world were built when the wealth distribution was unequal. This power allows for monumental creations, but it also creates great complexity in the system. This complexity is inherently unstable. A society with less centralization and less complexity will naturally last much longer. If two societies meet, the more complex one is capable of far greater accomplishments. It will either destroy the simpler society with force or compete it out of existence.

Is there some elegant solution? Not that I can think of and I doubt it’s possible. Any means to work around this (like taxes) will be a human created system. This power dynamic isn’t of human origin, it’s a part of the universe. It’s intrinsically tied with evolution. A system we create will be itself susceptible to the exact problem it intends to solve. Power will still accumulate within it. Here I’m reminded of the self referential nature of Godel’s Incompleteness theorem and how it trashed the universal application of mathematics. Fucking Godel.

There isn’t a satisfying conclusion. We can’t solve the wealth gap, at least not in the long term. Wealth will accumulate until it reaches a point of instability and then collapse. The revolution is inevitable. As is its failure.

This can’t be taken as an argument for inaction because the scale is deceiving. Yes, all societies will fall prey to the greed of a minority. Everyone dies too, that doesn’t mean being a doctor is pointless. You do it to save people in the here and now. The present tense is always more meaningful. The future cannot trump that.

So we tax the rich and their inheritance. We plot the revolution. We plan for it to not fail.
Even when we know it will.


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