From: Miriam English (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Feb 07 2002 - 07:19:55 MST
At 05:17 AM 06/02/2002, James Rogers wrote:
>On 2/3/02 4:35 AM, "Miriam English" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > Those who have been born into the richer classes,
> > who have gained their wealth and knowledge from countless generations
> > before them, demand that they alone be recognised as being the creators of
> > their good fortune and that they are damned if they will share it with
> > anybody else.
>I can't speak for your country, but in the U.S. your assumptions would
>simply be wrong. Nearly all the wealthy people in this country are entirely
>self-made, and the majority of those achieved wealth as blue-collar workers
>who were not born into the vaguest semblance of privilege. This may not
>square with popular perception, but it is in fact the truth. Those born
>into "the richer classes" as you are painting them are almost a non-existent
>class here and largely irrelevant as they are vastly outnumbered by more
>"deserving" folk of similar economic means.
>People use rhetoric like yours about a vanishingly small class of people to
>pass laws that exact punitive measures largely against self-made blue-collar
>people of modest background. That is like putting a hundred men in prison
>to make sure that the five criminals among them are also in prison.
I should have made myself clearer. Sorry.
You make the mistake of thinking that I was referring simply to people who
inherited money from their parents. But I was actually thinking of lucky us
-- us on this list. I would not be considered wealthy by many in Australia
or USA -- my total income is currently about US$75 per week. I am
nevertheless very wealthy when compared against the bulk of humanity, and
consider myself extremely priveleged. I have no intention of wasting that
privelege though, and am building my own business that hopefully will
increase my income 100-fold soon.
Whether we acknowledge it or not we have all benefitted from a social
contract. Over many centuries people have built up all the knowledge and
capabilities that we wield.
There is no such thing as a self made man. Each of us here has got here
largely through the efforts of countless generations of people before us
and those around us now.
If someone uses this knowledge and power for the general good then they may
do well out of it or not, but it is unlikely that those around them will
hate them for it. However if they decide that they owe nobody anything and
contribute as little as possible then they should not be surprised or feign
moral outrage when those around them consider them parasitic or work
against their interests.
We are all free to help the rest of humanity or to contribute nothing, or
anything in between. In a very real sense we owe nobody anything, but at
the same time it is easy to see how it makes good sense to live by rules
that ensure people give back to society in some kind of proportion to their
capability. It prevents things becoming too lopsided -- it is in nobody's
interests to create a very deep social divide that results in violent
I have seen plenty of people (particularly on this list) say that they
object to having to comply with a social contract that is not of their
making, but they are not seeing the whole picture. If they really want no
part of the deal I don't think there'd be much objection to them opting
out. The problem comes when they want to keep all the benefits from society
without complying with its commonsense rules.
To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
Virtual Reality Association http://www.vr.org.au
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