Archive for February, 2022

On The Matter of Wealth

I was once, a long time ago,  a member of a socialist carpentry cooperative in Wisconsin. Nearly every carpenter in the group had at least one graduate degree—anything from mathematics to history to sociology. You name it. Great conversations and damn good carpentry. We were what was called in the trade “fast framers”. (I wish I could move like that now.) If you couldn’t cut it after a period of coaching, you were out. You had to carry your weight, and for that effort, we all shared equally in the wealth we generated. If we hadn’t outright called ourselves a “socialist” cooperative, all the outside world would have seen was a group of people sharing among ourselves. No hierarchy, no hoarding, no wealth made at the expense of others or disproportionately accumulated.

Massive accumulation and concentration of wealth is one of the most dangerous and destructive dynamics in human history. Among other things, it creates caste. Hierarchy. Delusions of superiority. People with obscene amounts of wealth who don’t have regard for how they made that wealth or its effects on other people, on society. I used to think that ignorance was the biggest social negative influence, but I’ve come in my later years to know that greed is far  worse. Having a lot and always wanting more. No such thing as enough. Certainly no concept of sharing among equals.

Always wanting more. Psychological insecurity lies at the heart of so much of our society’s ills as the wealthy need to control, to suppress, to protect themselves and their wealth from the rest of us. They are the most dangerous people—the insecure who have a lot of power. The people who assume a right to a louder voice based on their greater material holdings no matter how they came by them. 

Capitalism is designed to die of its own wealth, all accumulating to one end of the ship until it sinks – stern first.


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