The legend of the outlaw Robin Hood was based on a popular idea - to address the unfairness of the age by force. Steal from the rich and give to the poor.
There’s plenty of philosophical mileage in defining the morality of property and theft but this pales into insignificance when considering the central question in Robin Hood’s quest.
It's not a moral question though, it is practical.
Put simply, if you take all the wealth away from the tiny minority of citizens who hold it and then divide it equally among everybody else, how much do you end up giving each citizen?
How much benefit would it bring as a one-off windfall? Does the seizure destroy the incentive to work hard?
A similar question is posed to charities who donate money, time or expertise to deserving causes. Though there is great value in disaster relief, the real benefit comes from those building ongoing capability & resilience.
We have to support both of course but perhaps with a bias towards the latter?
Going back to the re-distribution question, if we took all the personal wealth from every citizen worth in excess of $1m, the sum re-distributed to everyone else would be around $18k.
Ok, it’s a decent sum but remember, it’s a one-off, once it’s gone it’s gone. So the question is if everyone got $18k could we collectively solve the world’s problems and have enough left over to live on?
In Infinite State, the final part of The Infinity Trilogy, the focus is on how to change the shape of the world economy rather than chase after the wealth hoarders.
Even the super-rich know their billions are worthless on a dead planet.
Bad politics and archaic laws stand in the way of progress. Can they be overcome?
Infinite State is available now from Amazon. Click here for details.
Photo by Steve Harvey on Unsplash