Recently, French economist Thomas Pikkety published a landmark book entitled Capital in the Twenty First Century. Regardless of what you think about its conclusions, it’s groundbreaking stuff. We here at the ModernConservative are big fans of economics, specifically macroeconomics. In our opinion, the moving around of dollars and cents in this world is as close as we can come to tapping into humanity’s heartbeat and planning it’s direction for the future. Money takes into account the best and the worst of society and boils it down into the one thing that we love after God and Family here at ModCon: Data. Track the Data right, and Truth opens itself up for you like a perfect, holy blossom. The search for Truth has defined humanity throughout the centuries, and Pikkety does his best to simplify his accountings of tax records over decades to come up with his idea of Truth in our modern age.
Spolier alert: As always, the Truth is a bitter pill to swallow.
We won’t get into the technical jargon of his book, but in a nutshell Pikkety believes that wealth in our modern society is becoming increasingly concentrated. The rich, specifically the super rich, are able to hold on to vast sums of money much easier than the upwardly mobile are able to acquire it. He believes that the superrich not only are able to buy yachts and supercars with this Financial Capital, but are also able to influence the power structure of our society. In essence, Financial Capital is far outpacing the Human Capital in regards to power in our society. You could be a smart twentysomething from an upper middle class family, but your contribution to humanity’s direction will most likely be outpaced by a another twentysomething from a wealthy family. Or at least your earning potential will be.
Now, we’ve heard this in the news before. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer. That we are entering into a New Gilded Age. In Pikkety’s terms, the “drift towards oligarchy” begins with the rapid accumulation of wealth by the superrich and the passing on of that wealth to their heirs. It is alarming, but unfortunately it is the Truth. Many old-guard conservatives deny this fact, but they are fools. To deny this basic concept in a time where everyone feels it in the air is to doom Conservative Thought into the realm of the obsolete. Wake up, people. This is happening.
So what should we do as Modern Conservatives? Should we fill the airwaves with misinformation and political spin in the attempts to discredit this theory? Should we continue to promote the false idea that this wealth is inherently tied to performance–and therefore deserved? We here at ModCon don’t think so.
Instead, let’s focus on what’s really important: Impact.
Impact is a more difficult concept to figure out. Sure, it’s very easy to detail that wealth is being concentrated, but what does one buy with that wealth? Can it buy you happiness? Sadly, no. Study after study has shown that after the threshold of $75,000 – 100,000, Happiness takes a precipitous plunge. If your income is below this threshold, as you rise up in the ranks you become increasingly more happy in your newfound security and access to resources. Anything higher than this, and the trappings of modern wealth begin to take hold: Selfishness, Laziness, and a disconnect from the Common Man.
Can this type of wealth guarantee your children’s success? Again, the Data proves otherwise. Sure, your children will be cultured by taking ski trips to the Alps or having tuition paid for at the college of their choice. However, income tends to stay the same or drop from one generation to the next if you’re too rich.
More importantly, if you were to base success on the pride of your son or daughter’s profession, the Data shows us that most doctors, pHDs and “job creators” of our society tend to begin from humble beginnings. The more likely scenario of wealth is that your children will associate with other affluent snobs and end up perpetuating their own wealth, rather than furthering your name or the success that you created by being a job creator…
Part II: Stay tuned for the doctor’s prescription!