There has been significant uproar in the news involving the quintessential philosophical dilemma that seems to haunt mankind: how much money should a man make, and how much should he give back? These questions are based upon the debated conception that there is a point at which having too much money is morally impermissible, or, similarly, that if someone has to much money (note the assumption), then said person must have obtained it by fraudulent or otherwise questionable means.
I, personally, find this type of idea, in all its forms, absurd. I think it demonstrates a serious lack of reasoning, but I will refrain from demonstrating why in this particular post. It is important to discover where this type of
reasoning thinking comes from. Basically, we are dealing with an emotional justification. The idea that some person may have so much money that it is almost impossible that they spend it all, generates a type of resentment in most people. This resentment is not justified, however. That is because the resentment that is being created is contingent upon the assumption that a person should not have more than the individual thinker thinks they should have. The assumption is subjective; that is, that there is a point at which I think that a person should not have more money than they have, or that if they keep more than I think that they should keep, then they are acting immorally given that some people do not have even the basic amount of money for which to survive. The oversight is apparent when looking at the instance from a rights perspective. If we consider the fact that any one wealthy person has a right to that which they have justly earned, and that any imposition of our assumptions of wealth-limitations on them, would require that they lose certain rights while we, those who demand, gain rights, then we see that we are not only creating a condition that establishes a blatant contradiction of rights equality, but a violation of natural economic incentives.
The economic incentives that are violated relate to the idea that those who can produce will do so if and only if they are able to translate their productive powers into a vehicle that carries them to a goal. If the goal is wealth, prestige, or recognition, then regardless of the regulatory structure, those goals will be obtained. The only change is the way in which the producer will seek the actualization and completion of those goals. This is where the black market forces take action. Basically, if we demand that the rich be limited on how much they make, then there is an incentive not to make as much by either lowering their productive capacity, or by distorting their productive output (hiding their income). Both of the later options are what I call natural reactions to regulatory pressures -especially, tax pressures. Also, the risk that is waged regarding the concept that the rich lose rights because they now cannot have the same right to their property given the conditional: if I earn more, then more of my property is taken; whereas if I earn less, then less of my property is taken, deals with the fact that the producers might leave or stop producing. Not to mention the simple fact that the cost for getting into the market are higher that the cost of not entering the market; this entails that we would experience lower entrepreneurship and less innovation.
I believe that moral values are what dictate this phenomena of the wealthy producers avoiding taxation and regulation via the black market, and the people demanding that the wealthy producers surrender their property in the name of need. One is based on transcribing envy over a natural phenomena, and the other a justified action to avoid force. Thus, my question: Do certain moral values complement economic growth?