I was reading the other day about wealthy people and how their minds work. The story interviewed millionaires and there were several things that stuck out including that they were often times working several jobs instead of just one, that they were self motivated instead of waiting to be told what to do, and, oddly enough, the majority of the "super wealthy" (I don't remember the number for this but Bill Gates and Warren Buffet were both on the list) came from very poor families. The rich did not "look after them." According to the story, they knew what it was like to do without and worked harder than the average person to make sure they had plenty.
Secondly, you talk about the rich looking after their own as if it's a bad thing. If I work all my life to earn money (and regardless of what anyone says, the vast majority of the time a large income takes a large amount of work)... but if I work all my life to earn money, I have every right to do what I want with it because I traded part of my life, time and effort for it. If I want to give it to my children, grandchildren or friend==that's my right. You can call it "looking after your own," but what parent would not feed their child or want to have in inheritance for them? The Bible talked about giving an inheritance as a good thing.
In America, if you apply yourself and work hard, you can go far. I was raised in a poor environment and now I'm not. How? Well, I didn't have any rich people looking out for me, so I worked while other people slept or played video games. Capitalism simply places the decision of how much money you make on YOU instead of letting some dictator or king decide how much people have. It's the best system on earth.
James 5: 1Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.
You make a good point about people coming from humble beginnings and becoming successful. I will leave your examples of Gates and Buffett unchallenged for now. I know how Gates made his billions, but know little of Warren Buffet's humble origins.
You are making some huge leaps of faith. First you assume that it is a level playing field and that the rules are equal and unbiased. Second you assume that you can become rich without oppressing others and engaging in unethical practices.
I will take the milieu in which most of your readers operate, the U.S. as an example. How many people have tried to live on the current minimum wage? Have you tried to feed and clothe a family and put a roof over your head on this wage? Someone starting out on a minimum wage cannot get ahead. They have no benefits and must work long hours, often having more than one job to get ahead.
Take two children, both equally intelligent. One is born into a family of privilege and another is born into poverty. If the system is equal and fair then they should have the same chance of making it by virtue of their own intelligence and skills.
Unfortunately, the one born into a life of privilege has a long head start. He has role models, he has books in his home, he has lessons for everything, he has good nourishment, he has a quiet room of his own to study in, he has someone to urge him to achieve, he has connections to get his first good job, he has universities knocking at his door because his parents are benefactors of the university, he has good healthcare if he gets sick and can afford to miss work while he convalesces.
I am not saying that he does not deserve these things. I am saying that he has a head start. The system guarantees his success. Even if he is useless, he will get a job using his family connections. If he gets in trouble with the law, he will get a good lawyer who will get him off without a record. If he is drafted he will not be sent to serve in combat, but will get a cushy job somewhere out of the way. If he wants to get into business, his daddy's friends will set him up and if he is a failure they will bail him out. If he enters politics, he will have the right people to endorse him. His way is paved and pre-determined.
So the system is not as fair as it could be. Everyone could be guaranteed a fair working wage. Everyone could have access to good housing. Everyone could have health care and drug plans. Everyone could have access to post-secondary education. I am not talking about communism. I am talking about within our existing structure. These things exist in Europe and to a lesser degree in Canada and they are not communist countries.
The system benefits when the most able students are given a chance to succeed. The system benefits when people have a decent wage. Families are healthier, happier and better able to deal with difficulties. Countries that spend more on public housing have no slums and ghettos. Countries that have more of a social safety net spend less on crime prevention. They have lower incarceration levels and recidivism is lower. Violent crime is lower in countries which have strong guns laws and have programs to combat drug addiction.
When you cut programs for the poor, you pay a higher price in the end. It costs more to house a criminal, than it does to house a family in public housing. This is to say nothing of how much safer people feel in their own cities. There is no price that can be put on that.
Capitalism is exploitive by its very nature. It is based on creating classes of haves and have nots. The money that the rich get has to come from others. Unfairness is at its core. No one sets out to be poor. They become that way. If you don't become poor then someone else will. It is inevitable.
Capitalism rewards greed. In order to acquire capital one must obtain wealth. That is the goal. You cannot become a good capitalist unless you always want more. It is a mistake to believe that capitalists create wealth. They merely redistribute what already exists. In reality all workers own their own labor and the results of their labor. The capitalist buys that labor by artificially creating a market for it. I say artificially because he sets the terms. He and his fellow capitalists create unemployment so that labor costs are kept as low as possible. They create opportunity in some places, but take it away in others. It is a myth that it is a free market where services are traded freely. These decisions are usually made at a very high level, national or international, by bankers and capitalist elite. They keep the destiny of the nation in their hands and hold politicians in their pockets.
One could argue that capitalists can be good citizens and give back to the community, but even if this could be demonstrated it still does not change the nature of capitalism or the capitalist. He got ahead by taking away from others.
America is more myth than reality. You say that if you work hard you can get ahead, but some people need to work hard and others do not. It takes an industrious working class to keep the capitalists in business. Without them the capitalists would fail. They keep the illusion alive so that the workers will not lose hope. We all live under the fallacy that we can get ahead on our own. However, what really happens is that you get a good idea and the capitalists sit back waiting for their opportunity to take it from you. They buy ideas, just as they buy people. If you work hard you may be noticed and promoted to a higher level. You are coopted. This is the way the system works. People are just a commodity to the people at the top.
My views may seem unduly skeptical, but they conform to my religious views. If Satan is active in this world, and I believe that he is, then he will go where the power and money is. If America is at the top of the world, then you can be assured that Satan is active in America. If corporations are where the power resides, then you can be assured that Satan is on the board of every company.
1 John 2: 15Do not love the world or anything in the world
. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world
—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world
. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
P.S. I write these things not to advocate any one political system. I see all political systems as being corrupt. I see economics systems such as capitalism as being particularly corrupt. There is evil, but Satan does not want to see it. He disguises things in such a way that we will buy into it. We can get sucked into thinking that the status quo is okay. We are being anesthetized by Satan when we cease to see his evil. Patriotism for a country is wrong if it clouds our judgment. Obedience is wrong if it is blind.
I could be accused of supporting communism, but that would be wrong. If we lived in a communist country then I would oppose it. To me it isn't a question of one being wrong and the other right. This is too simplistic. I defend communism in so far as its ideals are positive. The same ideals of giving as much as you can and taking only what you needed existed in the early church. You really can't argue against the ideals unless you are against what the church stood for. In practice it has been a disaster.
We live in a capitalist world. To live in a capitalist country with immense social and economic problems and not blame the underlying economics for any of it is wrong. Most apologists for capitalism are self serving. They have gained and so are able to justify in their own minds their own position viz a vis others. I am also of the elite, but reject elitism in general and the capitalist elite in particular. Otherwise I could not live out my Christianity with a clear conscience. I am not sure how others justify it, but I do not choose to.