A very interesting piece of journalism indeed.
Taken at face value it corrects the actual mistakes made by the author of a video circulating on the internet (I haven’t provided a link here because there is one in the Forbes article).
At a second glance it becomes apparent that the way we understand money/wealth somehow influences our entire Weltanschauung (the way we see the world)
Yes, one can legitimately see public schooling as a ‘wealth transfer’ but only if you look at it from an accountant’s point of view. As an engineer/sociologist I see society as a mechanism/organism: if you feed/grease/power all its limbs/wheels it works a lot better, to the benefit of all parts/people concerned. Same with the fire department, DOD, etc. and including health care. Strange how nobody protests against money spent on the police though…
Ceausescu, Romania’s ‘beloved’ dictator, had a somewhat equivalent policy. He divided the whole workforce in two: the ‘directly productive’ – the workers themselves – and the ‘helpers’ – all the rest. And he said that the workers are the most important because they were the ones who performed the ‘really important’ actions – so they were payed better – while the helpers were considered mere accessories. And this is why the engineers, the scientists, the teachers, the doctors, everybody that didn’t produce something with their own hands were paid less than the all-mighty ‘worker’.
By concentrating too much on ‘money’ we get to make the same kind of mistake. Consecrating ‘classes’ of people – ‘directly productive’ vs ‘helpers’, ‘haves’ vs ‘have-nots’ – is detrimental to the entire society and eventually to all its members.
A perfunctory glance at the entire history is enough to convince us that a uniform society is a dystopia and that a highly divided one is too unstable for it’s own good.
And no, the solution is not more government sanctioned wealth transfer but more opportunities. A really free market coupled with a decent – decent not lavish – safety net works wonders. Look at what happened in Germany and Sweden after they freed the labour market. Bzw, do you know that Germany still doesn’t have a minimum wage? They have just started considering it because the wages have become so low as to depress the internal economic demand – the ‘down side’ of importing many foreign workers who accept very low payments.
Rich/successful people should not pay more/bigger taxes, they should just not use tax havens/loopholes and pay decent wages to their employees.
Poor people should stop whining, make good use of whatever opportunities they can find and stop believing/voting for the ‘wind-bags’.
It’s that simple. There is no magic solution that could be implemented by one side only or by partisan politicking but with a minimum of cooperation things could be brought back on track in almost no time.