Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Truth about Wealth Inequality

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

[Update 7/26/18: Added new section: "What's the Intention?"]

You can take the people out of poverty,
but you can’t take the poverty out of people.

"Rich People Suck."

In my days, I’ve heard many people bitch about the rich.

The argument is that the rich have too much money, that they’re greedy, that it’s sinful for anyone to acquire so much.

What’s ironic about this is that it’s always been low-to-no income people who’ve made this argument.

I do acknowledge that there are plenty of people who are greedy and have attained rather large sums of loot by taking advantage of others, sometimes in quite nefarious ways. However, there are plenty of people who have made a great deal of money through kosher means, as well.

I’ve heard the argument enough times, for example, that musicians make way too much money; that it’s complete crap that they can charge so much for albums, live shows, and merchandise—especially big name musicians who have loaded bank accounts (or so it would appear).

Whether this is true, false, good, bad, right, or wrong is irrelevant. The fact is: it is what it is.

Excuses. Excuses.

What must be seen is that within the current state of things, there is a “pressing” that always goes unnoticed by those who argue against such large incomes and high prices. That is to say, the arguers are being pressed by life to take a deep, brutally honest look within themselves.

Should they do so, they would find that they carry all sorts of junk fears and beliefs related to guilt, resentment, shame, false responsibility, worthlessness, and so on.
  • “It’s not right for me to enjoy life while others are suffering.”
  • “I hate rich people.”
  • “What would my parents think if I had gobs of money?”
  • “I can’t leave and do what I want because my mother says she needs me here.”
  • “Money is evil.”
  • “I’d never be able to do that.”
  • “I don’t deserve it.”
  • “It’s impossible to make that much without being a complete jerk.”
To greater or lesser degrees, this is what is going on inside the vast majority of people.

How do I know this? For one, I used to think these very same things. Two, the effects of these faulty programs run rampant in our culture, so their causes must necessarily be held within the majority of the collective. What we see without is a mirror of what we carry within.

Subconsciously, people are creating—even begging for—poverty, slavery, inequality, struggle; for all the things they say they abhor yet continue perpetuating.

“I want wealth equality! I want a raise! Lower taxes!” people say. But in the next breath, “Money is stupid—I hate it! I’m afraid my boss will fire me if I ask for a raise. Everyone’s gotta pay their dues to The Man.”

People disagree with the way life is, but by their most powerful thoughts, words, and actions, if unconsciously carried and expressed, they are clamoring to maintain the victim-perpetrator-savior mindset.

Poor Me

In extension, people judge and complain about wealth inequality because they’re unwilling to change.

Yes, by all means, there’s a serious problem with the fact that healthy food, medical treatment, etc. are priced sinfully high. There is, without a doubt, a global financial conspiracy that causes the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer.

But how many people legitimately push for positive change where change is needed most?

Far too often people play the "Poor Me" card:
  • “I’m too old to get an education.”
  • “I’m too inept to start a business.”
  • “I’m not good enough to ask for a raise.”
  • “I’m too afraid to know the truth.”
  • I’m too lazy to put down the bag of chips and take a walk so I can be healthy and thus lower my medical expenses, deny Big Pharma undue profit, and be able to afford a healthier lifestyle.”
People end up wasting their self-victimized lives away either waiting for a savior who will never arrive or looking for a savior in the very puppet masters who’ve created the (external) system of lack.

Said Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

In a way, this is true. Yet, while it wouldn’t be proper to label most people as “evil,” how “good” are men, really, when they do nothing to circumvent evil? Are they not accomplices? Are they not aiding and abetting in the creation and perpetuation of evil?

What’s the Intention?

Up at the top, I’d used the example of how some people will argue about the prices of music albums and such.

Of this thing in particular (although similar things could be found for other areas of life), those who argue need to question themselves: What, really, is my intention?

The answer may well be: I want to justify downloading songs illegally.

When a sane, morally-decent person walks into a grocery store, there’s no inkling within their mind that there are certain groceries they should just be able to walk out of the store with without paying for. Well, Campbell’s is a huge company, they make a large profit, I’ve been buying their soups for years, and the prices are higher than I’d like, so, why don’t I just throw this, here, can of mushroom soup into my purse, and that’s that.

Folks, no matter how it’s justified, such behavior is stealing. Whether soup or a song, there’s a lot of time, energy, money, and other resources that go into the existence of these products.

That said, I fully acknowledge that music is different from soup in that a person either buys the soup or they don’t. There’s no such thing as SoupTube that we can consume our favorite soups over and over again without paying for them like we can go on YouTube and listen to our favorite band’s music for free—sometimes provided by those very bands.

In this day and age, it can sometimes be difficult to draw a defining line. However, blatant stealing is blatant stealing, and if someone is stealing blatantly (or to whatever other degree they know as such), then it’s their responsibility to clean up that programming and make healthier choices.

Whether one is a musician or a manufacturer, people make products that others must purchase to maintain their livelihood. Perhaps the methods and means will evolve with time, but when people steal, the creators, manufacturers, advertisers, distributors, and retailers all suffer. The one stealing is obviously not immune, either.

The more people steal, the more prices must rise in order to compensate for previous and expected loss.

The Plateau

Further distortion regarding wealth inequality can be uncovered through the following question:

Assuming no one is harming another, why does it matter if some people are making $50 million or even $50 billion per year?

It’s said that after reaching a certain financial point, making more money offers no added satisfaction. This makes sense.

How many houses and cars and such can a person buy before their level of satisfaction plateaus? Unless you are, for instance, a car collector, I’m guessing it’s not very many.

And what then? People get what they want and the rest of their money sits in the bank or in the stock market or wherever. Maybe it goes up, maybe it goes down, but it’s not really doing anything.

When someone has a decent amount of money beyond survival necessity, it doesn’t necessarily matter (to throw arbitrary numbers out there) if someone makes $100 thousand, million, or billion per year. What’s excess is excess if it’s excess.

What Is True For You?

It’s all relative to individual perspective. If someone can live a satisfying life with an income of $50 thousand per year, they needn’t give a half of a crap about someone who is making $50 billion.

The problem is that most people are so focused on him-who-has-what-I’ve-been-told-I-should-need-and-want that they don’t even know what I-who-apparently-have-not’s individual perspective, needs, and wants truly are.

Being raised in this culture of manufactured scarcity and get-to-the-top-and-make-a-financial-and-material-killing-or-be-worthless-ness, people spend an inordinate amount of time and energy focusing on the purported “bliss of having” and grandness at the top, yet they fail to look at the facts and what is going on within themselves.

Our culture screams: "You need to have this!" "Your life will be so much better with that!"

"Size matters!"

Folks—to hell with all of that.

If people would look within and heal all the insane beliefs and fears they’ve sucked in from the external world as “true” and could see for the first time in forever what they actually need and desire, “big” and “more” would rarely matter.

Maybe. Maybe someone who hosts lots of parties would want a very large, elegant house. Maybe an aviator would want a personal helipad. Maybe a craftsman would want a large workshop with high-end, programmable tools.

But typically not. By and large, I think most people would be quite satisfied with roughly what they have now. Sure, things like a nice house in a safe area and a quality car would be desired; so, too, the resources required to do what brings one fulfillment and joy. But wanting money and “stuff” for the sake of having money and “stuff” in order to prove one’s worth or to escape fears of insecurity are highly warped ideas, at best.

Equalize Yourself

Wealth inequality exists and will continue to exist until people
  1. stop fighting for it,
  2. put it into the correct perspective, and
  3. change their thoughts and behaviors appropriately.
Again, yes, there is undoubtedly imbalance in our current financial system that must be resolved.

But even within this system, plenty of people have shown that it’s unnecessary to be utter slaves to lack and poverty. They have done this by exercising their own power of will to extricate themselves from their own internal fears and junk beliefs. Their external experience has thus given them release from the system insofar as they use money without being used by it; without being defined by it.

Otherwise, people think riches are going to satisfy them; they think evening out pay scales, lowering prices, and all that jazz are going to satisfy them. But on all such accounts, people are effectively wrong.

They are wrong because their perceptions are based on internally distorted ideas—ideas that are neither original to them nor based on personal truths.

As long as these faulty ideas are carried, individually and collectively, the experience people have is going to be one of inequality and dissatisfaction.

Even if trillions of dollars were dumped out on humanity and everyone’s needs were suddenly fully taken care of and then some, those with the internal distortions mentioned here would see: They’d finally have at their fingertips everything imaginable, yet they’d still be unsettled. They’d have their loaded bank account, their dream house, their dream car, and their dream kangaroo farm on a private island paradise, but still that nagging dissatisfaction would linger within.

You can take the people out of poverty, but you can’t take the poverty out of people.

The people must remove the poverty themselves.

Because, again, this is not about money, but about people who allow money to have such an inordinate level of power over them.

Perhaps you’re one of these people…?