Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wealth Distribution

Karl Marx said religion is the opiate of the people. He must have noticed that its believers were generally more prone to forgive the wicked than to overthrow them. But Marx had formed his theories long before the narcoticizing power of the televesion age, which neutralizes the masses with affordable luxury and meaningless pop culture . You can't organize a dictatorship of the proletariat among a herd of virtual contented cows.

What the revolutionaries really need to redistribute bourgeois wealth is a herd of boshevik bulls who can throw their weight around in the delicately stratified china shop of societal order. But the problem for revolutionaries in north America has always been that the bulls--the real movers and shakers-- sided early on with the capitalists, and they all ended up on wallstreet building productive companies and prosperous portfolios, instead of revolutions.

Although the revolutionaries are loath to admit it, the capitalist system has actually distributed wealth quite broadly and plentifully during the last hundred and twenty years or so.

That wave of growing prosperity, unprecedented in world history, has not been distributed equally. Broadly and plentifully, yes, but not equally. This is nothing new; wealth accumulation has never in human history been egalitarian. And it never will be, no matter what the professor says, no matter what the Occupy speaker in the public square says.

While the bulls have been kicking up gold dust on wall street for a couple of centuries, mom and pop were setting up shop down on main street catching a piece of the action. That's how it has been in north America.

The fact that the system now fails to deliver goods and services at levels previously enjoyed is undeniable. Suddenly, in the space of a few years, there doesn't seem to be enough wealth to go around. But we the people are not powerless. I prefer to believe we can act, individually and collectively, in love and kindness, and yes--in peace and self-control-- toward every person, and every group of persons we meet.

Many millenia ago, a fearless speaker spoke about a coming Messiah. Isaiah prophecied that the promised one would "judge the needy with righteousness. With justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his mouth he will slay the wicked."

I, a Christian believer, am willing to await Messiah's decision on these matters of justice, instead of taking matters into my own sinfully selfish hands. That position renders me as "religious" in the eyes of a secularly evolving world.

Now I've keyed up enough here for one Sunday morning session at Starbucks. I'll take a walk, one block along Georgia Street to the art museum, where the Occupy Vancouver crowd gathers. Let's see what those who claim to speak for the 99 have to say about the one.

Glass Chimera

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