It’s a tired and overused metaphor but one that has become so utterly entrenched in America’s vocabulary that few of us ever even think about it – the wealth pie.
People “want a bigger piece of the pie” or they complain that, “No matter how you slice it, the rich get most of the pie.”
This is a horribly pernicious falsehood. The pie is a lie. It’s a false metaphor that has helped create much of America’s current social and economic woe.
Zero Truth In Zero Sum
The first great falsehood of the “money pie” is that it is predicated upon wealth being a zero-sum game; i.e., there is a finite and/or fixed amount of houses, cars, healthcare, etc. to divide amongst the population, and the more the 1% get the less is left for the rest of us. Once, that held some truth, but now that our personal and national economies are not agrarian-based this is no longer true. Wealth is no longer a constant; it grows, shrinks, and changes with ever increasing rapidity.
Now add to that the fact that no nation, especially not America, is economically isolated. Globalism has expanded the sources of wealth, labor, and materials across nations’ borders. This means that when looking at the distribution of wealth within any singular nation one has to ascertain how much of that wealth came from within its borders and how much of came from exogenous sources. In other words, wealth flows.
Not Even A Crumb
The second and far more destructive great falsehood of the “money pie” is it engenders the belief that wealth owned by society. That is patently false. Society as a whole doesn’t own even a single crumb of this fictional “money pie.” Society is a process – a woefully amorphous process at best – and, as such, neither creates nor owns wealth and has no authority to claim it or divide it in any manner whatsoever.
Wealth, that growing, shrinking, flowing, ever changing chimera, is created by individuals – either singularly or in voluntary association with each other – and morally belongs to those individuals and solely to those individuals. It doesn’t belong to “society” or any other unrelated individuals or groups. To believe otherwise is one of the greatest of evils, that of slavery.
Yes, slavery. If an individual does not have the full right to product of his or her labor to do with and apportion as he or she wills, that individual is a slave and is merely chattel of those who have usurped the authority to dispose of that individual’s product.