5 October 2011

Revamping Wealth Distribution in Society

The history of money probably dates back around 5000 years or more when the first civilizations formed.  During this time, money was more in the form of some type of commodity, or hard asset.  Gradually throughout history, money became a more and more abstract entity, with world currencies now existing almost as virtual items.

Money has many uses, the chief among these as helping to propel people and causes by creating an easy way of pooling resources, and then using those resources to achieve a meaningful goal.  It's an easy token of exchange and helps people give to others easily without actually purchasing a particular item, for example.  In addition, it helps to keep track of what resources people have used each day so that people get their fair share of the world's goods.

As with any tool in society, of which money is just one of many, there are advantages of this system, as well as opportunities for people to negatively exploit those advantages.  With the existence of money as an item itself, people can therefore bypass the part of producing something useful for society, and therefore receive or make money just for the sake of money's sake. 

In many cases, this creates large wealth discrepancies between wealthy individuals, middle class society, and poor people.  The wealth gap that ensues therefore results in some people who have have stuff and other people who may not have stuff.  For example, people who focus exclusively on producing something more meaningful for society, by definition, focus less on money for money's sake, so even as highly productive members of society, they may gain less monetary rewards.

Throughout history, many suggestions have been made on how to rectify these anomalies in money and wealth distribution.  Some people have reverted through force, such as in revolutions.  Others, have tried to come up with particular theories or ideologies to try to improve the world of finance.

It is always difficult to come up with a system that is totally fair for all parties.  Robin Hood's idea of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor may not necessarily work well or even be a good idea sometimes.

Perhaps one of the best ways to revamp wealth distribution is to remind people:

(a) to balance high prices with lower prices, and

(b) that almost everything has a value. 

This also prevents excessive bubbles from forming in any particular asset class.  Practically, how to achieve the above 2 suggestions may require to work out more details, and may also have their limitations in how well it works.  However, this is an important issue for society to address in an intellectual and civil manner, since the prudent use of money has contributed much to the rise of highly civilized, affluent societies as a whole.


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