Wealth – *abundance of valuable material possessions or resources
This post is a little different from most of my previous posts. How is it different you wonder? It is about the current world order and the distribution of wealth. Wait: it is not a manifesto of a radical social point of view; not about an ideology; not a litany of complaints. First I shall briefly write about the world condition and then emphasize speculation concerning current events as I perceive them. In conclusion I shall link conditions with wisdom from what I have learned and now believe. Let me begin.
Humans have discovered many things about our world that has contributed to the success of our species.
Science, technology, ability to anticipate, plan, test and pass on knowledge and skills have made life better for many of us but, not for all of us. The reality is, we have never conquered that trait of human nature that temps us to indulge in evil for personal reasons especially in order to gain riches and power. It infiltrates even the best milieu and as our population increased worldwide so does the negative fruit from this self-serving tendency. Fortunately today our collective memory about the two world wars of the last century has confined this manifestation of evil to a relatively small-scale and not on the large-scale infestation of the worst kind that history reveals. Of course if you are living in one of the hot spots where evil rules your world view surely must be very negative; this is understandable.
Even from a secular frame of reference people do not expect perfection in this world.
Yes we seem to have done better in many ways than what history reveals about past generations.
If you do study history you probably have recognized, like many things we observe, the good and bad times are cyclical. Political, social and even cultural aspects are greatly affected by this cycle of ups and downs good and bad times. The part of the cycle when good prevails followed by the part of the cycle when evil prevails. This pattern seems to continue ad infinitum. One old nemesis of peace and tranquility is a condition that arises whenever the disparity between rich and poor reaches a critical breaking point. When a population arrives at such a point drastic things usually happen: mass immigration, civil unrest, revolts and wars. Does that seem like a familiar theme to you?
Today some sources claim that the gap between the wealthy people of the world and the poor people of the world is greater than ever.
I can believe this. I see in the news everyday indications of clashes caused by desperate people on the move in search of a better life. The hopeless people flee anarchy, radical ideology and war. Unfortunately some stay and turn to more radical measures themselves, by adopting barbaric and brutal behavior believing it is their only choice. What is worse, people with criminal tendencies see this manifestation of evil masking as religious or political expression as an opportunity to validate their barbaric behavior.
Some adopt an ideology inspired by hate and fueled by anger because they are angry and they do hate; even if they have cause, their action only worsen situations that are already horrible. At the end of this post I will summarize the direction I suspect our
social reality will continue to be moving toward if the current state of human affairs continues unchallenged and unabated, but first I want to write about what may help alter these negative social forces and what may be a possible solution.
Like it on not a redistribution of wealth will always occur and seek a happy medium.
In physics we learn that equilibrium will occur when two different things representing opposites, like hot and cold, dense and sparse, or fresh and salty water will eventually arrive at a point when both modify each other and neutralize the disparity. The second law of thermodynamics. Wait, are not humans infinitely more complex than a gas or a fluid? True. If we examine extreme differences between groups of people with opposing positions we may note some similarities from their solutions resembling the basic examples above in some cases, and less predictable very different results in others : 1) Human behavior is unlikely to end a point of contention with all the individuals agreeing completely, instead there will be a distribution of agreement and disagreement along a familiar pattern – introducing the famous “bell curve”,
2) It only takes a small percent of a population to disrupt a solution, increase costs or foment discontent, 3) A total diffusion of any possessions, freedom, privileges or power may be unnecessary. Not many individuals desire solutions that guarantee they will be allowed to gain in excess. This is true especially if the extra benefits place greater demands on them who take possession of them. In other words, a fair distribution of material gain, freedom, power and privilege spread throughout a population would satisfy the majority of the people involved. Some would like more power and more wealth but others would not want the added responsibility that would go with it. Whatever solution is adopted it would require periodic evaluation, mechanisms for adjustment and remedies for failures. The group as a whole would need safeguards: methods to deal with disrupters, law breakers and abusers.
How is a more equitable world achieved?
There are many ways to redistribute wealth: a social mechanism such as taxation, charity, welfare, land reform, monetary policies, confiscations or more drastic measures like warfare, immigration, and lawless behavior on a large-scale. If people want peace then they must address the problem equitably before evil harnesses the unsettled masses and we all move toward anarchy, barbarism and a return to “The Law of the Jungle.” An immigrant may send money home; a nation may provide aid to a suffering neighbor country; the wealthier societies may invest money and resources where there is a need – a need to cultivate a higher standard of living for a people. In my opinion a more equitable world can be achieved but whether it will be a peaceful or violent transition remains an open question; an answer to a question that all people alive today have a vested interest in finding a peaceful answer to.
What if the gap between rich and poor continues or increases?
I have read science fiction literature and watched films that portray a future for humanity that is bleak, in chaos and violent. Walled or fenced cities where “The Haves” isolate themselves from the “Have-Nots”; within the cities luxury is common and excesses abound; beyond the perimeter where the poor masses struggle to survive it is a “dog eat dog” existence ruled by cruel and violent people. The status quo one day is totally upset when the security zones are breached and the deprived run amok venting frustration and hatred by attacking all who have “the good life” until an ugly equilibrium is established and a horrible dystopia is the reality for all people.
As a follower of Jesus Christ I believe the Holy Bible provides insight and the wisdom to achieve this goal.
*Excerpts from The Holy Bible:
Genesis 4:8-10 ESV
Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.
1 John 3:17-18 ESV
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Proverbs 14:31 ESV
Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.
Psalm 82:3-4 ESV
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Proverbs 29:7 ESV
A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.
Mark 14:7 ESV
For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. . . .
*Use of ESV Bible verses: https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/