Two weeks back, I wrote a rather fun post called Why Do the Rich Always Foot the Bill? and it got quite a lot of comments. One I especially enjoyed was from Jeff. He made a comment about the redistribution of wealth and how rich people tend to leave their kids big piles of money. He said that this is still redistributing wealth, it's just that it's within the family rather than to the entire community. His thought has stuck with me and I've been turning it over in my head during the past two weeks. 'Cause it's true. Willing your estate to another person in the event of one's death is a redistribution of wealth. Unless you bury your fortune in the ground, someone will make off with it after you die.
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Honestly, there can be big problems with both of these ideals and I presented them both in such an extreme form that I highly doubt anyone truly falls completely into one side or the other.
But I did so to drive home a point.
Our nation was founded on the rights of the individual, rather than the rights of the collective. There are other nations that have gone the other route and valued to collective above the individual (Russia and China come to mind). The main reason that our founders decided upon the rights of the individual is that as both individualistic and collectivist groups become institutionalized, governments that respect the rights of the individual usually end up being fairer to all people.
The core property right is the right to one's self.
Governments that respect the individual and the individual's property rights are almost always less likely to enslave the people they rule because they respect the fundamental rights of each person to their own person. Collectivist groups can rationalize almost anything as the "good of the people" which is why they can limit the amount of children a person is allowed to birth or tell someone where to work or how they can be educated. If it's for the "good of all" it often ends up being for the "good of none."
That's why I'm pro property rights- even when the rich seem to be getting away with a fortune while the rest of us scrape and save for everything in life.
7/20/2009 05:39:43 am
Okay, Here's a law from the 1800s ..."if you stop for a beer in North Dakota, don't expect to get any pretzels with your beverage. It's against the law in that state to serve beer and pretzels at the same time." -Source: http://www.legalzoom.com/legal-articles/craziest-laws-on-books.html
That's a really good question.
The redistribution of wealth under individualistic or collectivist paradigms? I think I personally favor a mixture of both.
Hey! Great discussion, post, and follow-up comments.
Comments are closed.
Nathan Key likes to think about faith and philosophy and talk about it with others. He lives with his family in New Hampshire. He doesn't always refer to himself in the third person.