Wealth

There’s no sympathy for the rich.

As a child, you don’t care about money unless you have too little. Money is not about status, but rather this magical substance that generates toys and food. All things derive meaning from your immediate experiences, without the larger social picture attached. Children don’t really choose friends based on their parents’ incomes.

But money grows on us with age. The wealthy look like they’re having more fun because they have more of that money stuff. And being poor prevents us from school, or girlfriends, or being an artist, or general happiness.

This inequality is rationalized very differently.

To those that believe money is a little luck and a lot of hard work, then the wealth gap is fine. But by placing value in hard work — in equal opportunity — you’re reducing your life to employee’s hours. If your life lasted X hours at Y dollars an hour, then you’re worth Z dollars. It’s hard not harbor feelings of greed and jealousy in a mindset like that.

To others, money is a natural resource that is misallocated, therefore the wealth gap is not okay. By placing value in equality, you seek to quell injustice. And differences in wealth are an obvious opponent of justice when equal quantity is a desirable metric in your worldview. How can you not hate the wealthy in this system?

And so we see that both sides of the spectrum have reasons to hate wealthy people. Conservatives breed disdain through competition, and liberals view it as an evil to be stopped.

When you receive a scoop of ice cream you’re content. When you receive a bowl of ice cream, you’re happy. When you receive a tub of ice cream you’re a bit happier. When you receive a truckload of ice cream, you’re a bit happier.

Money means a lot when you’re poor, but additional income after a certain point loses its meaning. There’s only so much satisfaction one can derive from things and experiences. It doesn’t scale linearly.