Economics/Class Relations

Abolish Inherited Wealth

I think that the issue of inherited wealth is problematic because it alllows a neo-aristocracy to develop. In fact, this was an issue that turned Robert Nozick away from orthodox libertarianism later in life. But the problem with the social democrats is that they never have any solution except more taxes, which only fuels the state, which fuels banks and corporations…

By Ben Burgis, The Jacobin

Allowing wealth to accumulate from one generation to another is a recipe for unacceptable inequalities. We should abolish inherited wealth.

In Charles Bukowski’s novel Hollywood, the protagonist Hank Chinaski reflects on the importance of home ownership to his father. “Look,” Henry Chinaski Sr once told him, “I’ll pay for one house and when I die you’ll get that house and then in your lifetime you’ll pay for a house when you die you’ll leave those houses to your son. That’ll make two houses. Then your son will…”

Hank thinks this is ridiculous. What if after accumulating ten houses in ten generations, the eleventh Chinaski gambles them all away? Better to live for the moment.

Anyone who cares about creating a society without landlords should have the opposite concern. What if the Chinaski family’s holdings do accumulate as planned?

In ways much more serious than petty real estate fortunes, inherited wealth has a massive effect in fueling economic inequality — and the problem is getting worse.


2 replies »

  1. Yes, let’s do exactly as Thomas Piketty suggests and create a global banking network that holds everyone’s accounts, and sees and taxes all transactions and balances everywhere. We need a war on wealth inequality!

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