Work

I feel very much compelled to make my first post of the summer - and my first post as a high school graduate. Here it is:

Working doesn't make people rich. Owning makes people rich.

This aphorism sprung to my mind just recently, and I believe it gets to the heart of one of the greatest flaws in today's economic system. For a long time, I always thought many people placed undue emphasis on the "value of work" and often I thought that the entire concept of work being honorable was a doubtful idea. Now, however, I think I am realizing that my doubts were misplaced. Before, I thought there was a problem in people thinking that work was in and of itself a good thing; now I realize that by and large, work actually is a good thing. The problem, it seems, is that there actually aren't enough people who do real work.

When I say "real work," I am not trying to make some distinction between hard laborers or people who sit at their computers all day. No, all of those occupations, from industry to service, generally do make actual contributions to our society. Even corporate executives have their place, despite many of their number being overpaid pigs. Neither does my previous statement target the unemployed or those mysterious "lazy" people that conservatives always claim are the only ones receiving welfare. No, when I say there aren't enough people who do real work, I am thinking of those who make their living off of owning, or those whose only contribution to the human economy is the investment of their money.

During the course of my year spent in Kayhi's Speech and Debate class I had several discussions with conservative-libertarian laissez-faire economics-oriented fellow students. This point came up quite a bit. Here is my emphasis, made very simply:

The act of an individual investing money into another endeavour does nothing to add to the productivity of that individual. Their act produces nothing physical, and would not do anything to better the world were it not for the constraints of our currency-based economic system.

Unfortunately, it is these individuals who commonly attain the most wealth within our society, as initial possession of wealth followed by its investment generally leads to the accumulation of more and more wealth - all without the necessity of the individual actually producing anything.

Ultimately, although hard work clearly does give most people in the United States of America the chance to accumulate greater wealth, this is not the most efficient way to do so. And so, in a society with what I might say is a very unhealthy focus on wealth and the supposed correlation of wealth with merit, status, and power, the myth that an individual's wealth is related to their productivity of their work is certifiably false.

Did I need all that writing to prove that point? Probably not. Why then, I ask, do people still not see economic injustice for what it is?

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