A rant about financial inequality
This is post is probably just going to be a bit of a rant.
But fuck it.
I’m forever seeing stuff on Facebook and the like pissing and moaning about inequality of wealth.
Now, I’m no expert when it comes to economics.
In fact, you should just take this as the ranting of a crazy person who has no idea what he’s talking about.
Or just skip this completely.
It’s all just my take on things, anyway.
But what I do understand is complex systems and the way they lead to what is famously known as the “80 / 20 Principle”.
Complexity is a lens through which I look at everything.
So here goes.
A study conducted in 2000 says around half of the world’s wealth belongs to the top 1% of people. The top 10% have 85%, and the remaining bottom 90% of people have just 15% of the world’s total wealth.
Blah blah blah.
yadda yadda yadda.
Is it fair?
But life isn’t fucking fair.
Ideally, everyone would be equal and poverty wouldn’t exist.
But the world doesn’t work like that.
Complex systems theory tells us this inequality of distribution exists for a reason. Human behaviour makes it like this. This isn’t just true of wealth. It’s true of everything (even the frequency at which words in a language are used follows the same pattern). Vilfredo Pareto discovered this wealth inequality a long time ago – again, the famous 80/20 rule – and nothing’s changed since then, and likely never will.
Human behaviour makes it like this.
It’s in our wiring.
If the bottom 90% died, guess what?
You would STILL see the same unequal distribution – yes, each would have more (to start with) because there would be fewer people. But very, very quickly the exact same economy would emerge. Just with fewer people.
You can’t change the system.
Because to do so is fighting against our own basic wiring.
I don’t believe financial equality will ever exist.
You might not like this.
And frankly, I don’t care if you don’t like it. Plenty of things we don’t like are true, after all.
Humans just aren’t wired up in this kind of way.
There’s a bloody good reason the top 1% are so rich, and there’s a bloody good reason why, for example, communism fails every. single. time.
You can’t change it.
Education and raising awareness can change the way complex systems operate but in most cases change in a system’s organisation is temporary. They quickly reorganise back to exactly how they were in the beginning, and the same old patterns emerge.
So I personally choose to work the system to my advantage instead of trying to fight it. If you can’t change something, stop farting around bitching and complaining about it, and do something.
Like I talked about in yesterday’s post, you can only control your own actions.
Wealth distribution will probably never be equal.
So I choose to become one of the rich.
Now, my definition of “rich” is perhaps a little different to what most consider rich. I define it in a similar way to Tim Ferris did his book, ‘The Four Hour Work Week’. Having enough that I don’t need to really ever worry about money… but putting my primary focus on freedom, and being able to live the kind of life I want (also often called ‘personal sovereignty’).
Hardly idealistic, I know.
But it’s realistic.
Yes, I’m in my business to do a good job. Yes, it matters to me that my clients get excellent results. It matters because I want to help them, but also because I know a sustainable business can only be built on getting excellent results.
I left my job as a secondary school teacher years ago – which I loved – because it was too limited. I’d already hit the top of what I could potentially do, and I was broke, overworked and stressed out. Yes, I loved my job. But no, I didn’t like being poor. So I left to work in a company. That didn’t work out either, so I started my own company. It was a risk – a fucking HUGE risk, something the pissers and moaners never seem to get – but it worked out well (and that’s not surprising considering how much I sacrificed to make it happen).
I’m certainly not in the top 1%.
Or even 10%.
Not even bloody close.
But I don’t care about that level of personal income, and anyway I’m doing far, far better than most people… because of conscious choices I make.
Before you start with the “well, you were just lucky your parents gave you everything” bullshit, they didn’t – I come from a family that was permanently broke, claiming a dole through social services and I clawed my way up from the bottom working long hours in factories so I afford to go to college and university. Well, in a sense I was lucky, I guess, because never wanting to live that kind of life was the core of my motivation.
I’ve got fuck all else to say on this for now.