Saturday, November 15, 2014

Axiom 56: Pay No Attention to Social Inequality

"The worst form of inequality it to try to make unequal things equal." -Aristotle

When you hear the words "social inequality" they are usually accompanied by an argument that goes something like this:
The rich are getting richer at the expense of poor, who are getting poorer. The poor are being exploited by greedy capitalists (top 1%). If the government doesn't step in and balance this inequality the threat of social class warfare will increase.
I will not dispute the facts that the rich are indeed getting richer, and the salaries of the poorest Americans are stagnant or declining. However, if you truly believe that the rich have prevented your personal success then you are small-time thinker that dwells on obstacles instead of opportunities. You're not in a war-torn African country, a servant in a medieval monarchy, or a factory worker in small town during the American industrial revolution. In modern day America opportunities are endless for all social classes, regardless of wealth.

I argue that social inequality does not prevent some from succeeding, only a hard-work inequality does that.

If the richest Americans were, in fact, holding back the poorest Americans then you would see very few self-made millionaires and billionaires. Instead you would have the majority of wealth inherited through generations. However, this is not at all the case.

A Fidelity survey found that 86 percent of millionaires are self-made. Another study found that 69 percent of billionaires were self-made, most coming from modest middle class families. Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos all came from modest backgrounds and created powerhouse companies. Let's not also forget about the countless millionaires these guys created in their wake. I've yet to hear one of these guys complain that the upper class prevented their success in life.

But what about monopolies? What about Wal-Mart? They are destroying America and enslaving people, right?

The fact is that Wal-Mart as much as it seems like a job crushing, soul stealing monster has some redeemable qualities. You must also remember that Wal-Mart offers mostly jobs, not careers. It's a great place for a young person to go work part-time while they are in college. However, if you are a 55 year old working there full-time as a cashier complaining about the low pay then I don't see how Wal-Mart is to blame. It was your choices in life that lead you to the position you are in, for better or worse.

People that are smart, patient, that work hard, that are dependable, and emotionally stable move up the corporate ladder or create their own opportunities for success in the business world. People that are dumb, lazy, impatient, crazy, socially awkward, and unreliable will never achieve lasting success. It is as simple as that. If you are not where you want to be in life don't blame the rich guy, re-read this paragraph instead. 

As for monopolies, nothing lasts forever. Companies rise and fall all the time, even the biggest ones. Even companies like Wal-Mart may not be around in 20 years as their competitors find better ways to service customers. 

While you may not accept my previous points based on your political bias, please hear me out on this last one. Now in America, more than any other time in history, you have a standard of living and opportunities that have never existed previously. It is now that even the poorest American have cell phones, computers, cable tv, cars, and many other luxury items. And yes I use the term "luxury" items. Kings would have killed for these items a hundred years ago.

Only just recently can almost anyone, regardless of income, take out a federal loan and attended college, or educate themselves for free online. Only now can someone easily incorporate a business for a few hundred dollars, hire a factory overseas to make a product, and sell a product worldwide. Do you realize you can do this all online by yourself in a few hours? This was something only the wealthiest Americans could do just a few decades ago.

Let me finish by saying this - If you are complaining about social inequality to help the poor as a whole then I commend you. We will always need low wage service workers in this country and no one wants to see others exploited for extremely low wages. However, if you are complaining about social inequality because it is the scapegoat to your own failure in life then shame on you. Take a step back and re-examine what you've done with your life because America still is the land of opportunity where anyone can take a little and turn it into a lot.