Resenting the Rich: Is All Inequality Created Equal?
The Aspen Times (CO) ^ | February 27, 2014 | Melanie Sturm
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 9:55:51 AM by Aspenhuskerette
Last week, as Ukrainian emigre- turned-tech tycoon Jan Koum prepared to cash a multibillion-dollar check from Facebook — acquirer of his startup “WhatsApp” — Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was checking out of his Gatsby-esque estate where he’d cached his stolen plunder.
That the two Ukrainians derived their riches under diametrically opposed systems — free enterprise versus banana republic — illustrates why all income inequalities are not created equal.
Most don’t resent the rich — only the undeservedly rich — as a recent Venezuelan protest sign conveyed: “These Castro-Chavistas speak like Marx, govern like Stalin, and live like Rockefeller, while the people suffer!”
Koum’s affluence springs from a free society in which everyone has a God-given right to go as far as their work and talent will take them. Yanukovich’s hijacked wealth is exploitative, depriving others of dignity, opportunity and economic mobility. One system disperses power as it champions an individual’s right to pursue happiness; the other concentrates it while stifling human potential.
There will always be a top 1 percent. The question is: Will they be hardworking and productive people whose value creation benefits society — think Steve Jobs and J.K. Rowling — or cronies living off perks extracted from the labor of the little people?
In America, we have increasing numbers of both, which is why we must Think Again before allowing policymakers to concentrate more power in the name of social justice. In fact, economic liberalization is the real cure.
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