A critical response to The Evening Standard article: Knowledge: why the rich will just keep on getting richer across the globe.”  

I don’t believe in the inheritance tax. I believe that my children should expand the dynasty I build for generations to come. Wealth is passed through the familial linage and so usually, rich people give birth to future rich people. The question should no longer be asked “why are the rich so rich?” They are rich because they have more resources than they could possibly consume and their abundance of means means that they will always be able to accumulate more wealth. In my warped sensibility which I feel compelled to share with you, even this is ok. But, this is not the question we should be asking ourselves. The article I have decided to comment on and the book they were critiquing [in order to keep your attention] missed the point. The questions we should be asking are “Will the poor keep getting poorer?”  Can we sustain our existence [as the entitled] if we are surrounded by abject poverty? And, in a world where wealth begets wealth how do we create wealth where there was none recently? How do we get a poor person to give birth to a rich person?

The article pointed out that as we live in a knowledge based economy the rich, who own the knowledge, can charge high fees for it. They also pointed out that the rise of China means that all our labour has less value. He also alluded to the rise of technology and the lessening of our need for low and semi-skilled labour.  None of this entails a new realization. Even if we were in the stone ages the best hunter would command the spoils of the hunt. Even if there was no China the fact that in twenty years the world population will be nine billion souls means that the individual value of undeveloped labour would go down. The technological argument is simply an extension of the first argument since the rich own the technology and can make trade with labourers unnecessary. 

Probably an old realization, nothing being new under the sun, which needs to be open-sourced, is the idea that the rich, with all their riches, only account for an infinitely small amount of the earth’s total resources.  Another realization is that even if we gave the richest one percent all the food which has been produced today we the rest of the world could band together to produce enough food to feed ourselves tomorrow. This is not just wild speculation I recently learnt from an African Business Magazine that Africa currently only farms three percent of its total arable land. A third realization which is more applicable to the rich is that even if one individual owned all the food in the world he could only eat one meal at a time, be in one place at a time and live one life only. In the end both the rich and the poor have lessons to learn. Envy is short-sighted and greed is pointless. Surely there must be a greater meaning to all this. 

Our knowledge economy 

Knowledge is like the flame of a candle which by lighting another does not diminish its own life. Sharing my insights with you does not diminish my own capacity. I believe in the creation of an international shortage area labour market which brings together employers in the first world with employees in the third world and makes jobs in shortage areas of first world industry available to labour in the third world. I believe that this would drive the training of third world labour in areas which actually generate a good life for individuals.  I believe that the change in this world begins with me. Whether it means doing additional training and accreditation, accessing new technology for the dispersal of information or the winning of contracts through the judicious use of capital all of these things put together will create jobs and income not just for me but for a mass of people who would have otherwise been left to languish in poverty. 

I believe that first world countries are elastic enough to take many more engineers, nurses, teachers, social workers and other official shortage area workers from the third world. Inducting these people into the system of wealth will allow others to take their place in developing countries and inspire yet others to gain the education, training and certification necessary to take up other roles to come. Our common work might even inspire the newly rich to part with “activation resources” which would get the process moving in various other places. 

My closing point is this, it is not impossible to envision solutions to the problems which we face as a world society. It is intellectually lazy to propose that a large swath of the world’s population is “not needed” and have no prospects. Revolution should not necessarily mean taking from the rich to give to the poor it should mean enabling the poor to integrate into an already affluent system for their own good and for the good of the collective.

My name is Peter Campbell, writing from London United Kingdom. If you are reading this, then you are the solution.