I was recently castigated for suggesting that the level of inequality in society was immoral. I was told that the rich deserved the money they had made. They worked hard and took risks.
Some people do earn their money fairly. Some do work hard. Some do take risks. But too many gain their wealth through nepotism, privilege and having great wealth to start with - not through a meritocracy. The dice are heavily loaded. The wealthy want things to stay the same. They want the system to favour them - and it does.
But why does anyone assume that all this wealth is fairly earned?
I think a good portion of it is gained through ruthless exploitation, corruption, nepotism, privilege and immoral methodology. A lot of the wealth in Britain's aristocracy was based on slavery, exploiting and extracting wealth from the empire, running factories on starvation wages without regard to health and safety, child labour and swindling people. It was only the advent of trade unions and social legislation coupled with full voting rights that changed things. People wrested some of this power from the ruling class, overcame injustice and created a more moral society and fairer world. No rights have ever been given up lightly by the elite. It has had to be taken from them with blood and protest.
The same ruthless practices still exist today. The Third World is being exploited with sweat shops, low wages, long hours and poor health and safety. Automation is maximising profits for a few while putting multitudes out of work. The environment is being trashed for profit without thought for the future. Workers are still being paid low wages in the gig economy while profits increase for the few. Prices charged for concerts and goods are excessive and exploitative.
How moral is all this?
I would say not moral at all.
A good portion of the rich and powerful are ruthlessly exploiting the world, evading paying taxes and using repulsive means for gaining their wealth.
What is the answer for this huge inequality? I would suggest that we need legislation to stop people being exploited around the world and ensure a fair wage and good work conditions for their workforce and I would suggest that a progressive tax system (plugging all the tax evasion systems) would result in a fairer, happier society.
At present this system is run by the rich for the rich. They control the media and through that the minds of the population. Despite the fact that the system only works for the elite they persuade a good portion of the population that there is no alternative. The mantra is that what is good for the economy is good for the people.
What is good for the economy is good for the wealthy. They share as little of that wealth as they can get away with. They think they deserve it.
I think the level of this increasing inequality is obscene.
I believe that all political parties have supported the wealthy instead of the people because they are frightened that the wealthy will take their ill-gotten gains elsewhere and greatly damage the economy. It is a blackmail, coupled with degrees of corruption, that creates an unfair collusion.
I say that there is an alternative - it is called social democracy.