• Hamid Rafizadeh

The existential reality of “wealth”

Updated: Jul 23, 2018

In so many places we are told that “wealth” is bad and not to be trusted to provide the human with a good life. It is such a big ignorant lie.

Here is the truth of wealth. “Wealth” is an outcome of capability sharing among humans in order to provide for the needs of all. In human life wealth defines the success of the societal capability sharing in three foundational ways: First, wealth is a measure of “efficiency” in capability sharing. It relates the inputs and outputs of capability sharing. If the capability sharing cannot generate wealth it means the inputs are larger than the outputs and soon the capability sharing will run out of resources to sustain itself. Second, wealth is a measure of “value” to people that need goods and services. If I organize people to share their capabilities to produce goods and services and no one wants my goods and services, I will sell nothing and generate no wealth. It would signal that what I do has no “value” for other humans. Wealth signals what others want. It highlights how humans value the goods and services that a group produces through shared capabilities. Third, wealth is a measure of “amplification of capabilities.” If my wealth is ten dollars, my ability to organize the capabilities of others to produce goods and services will be zero. However, if my wealth is ten million dollars, my ability to organize the capabilities of others increases immensely. The wealth-based amplification of capabilities exists at all levels, from individual to workplace to nation.

The efficient, value-driven and capability-amplified wealth manifests itself visibly in societal life. As an example, in comparing the societal sharing of typical African society with the US, the US can produce and distribute goods and services at a level impossible in the African society because of the wealth that the US has produced in its societal sharing system. The US amplifies its capabilities beyond the typical African nation. The efficiency and value that the US creates is beyond what the typical African nation does. It is from this perspective that wealth is the key performance measure of the societal sharing system in providing for the daily needs of all.

There is nothing wrong with wealth. It is and will always be critical to societal well-being and human existence. To the contrary, not having wealth and being “poor” is the worst way an individual or society can experience life. Wealth always functions as means of organizing and amplifying the human capabilities to serve the human needs.

Wealth gets a bad name when humans do not use it well in managing what the masses need. For example, tens of thousands might need food and hundreds might need luxury cars. Should the available wealth be applied to organizing and amplifying the capabilities that provide food to tens of thousands and in the process earn the wealth-holder 3% or should it be applied to organizing and amplifying the capabilities that provide luxury cars to hundreds to earn the wealth-holder 20%? Here the blame cannot be placed solely at the wealth-holder deciding to walk the path that creates more wealth. Those that demand luxury cars are to be equally blamed. They are either ignorant of tens of thousands that need food or know it and do not care. If they were aware of the need of others for food and cared, they would hold back their demand for luxury cars and instead demand that that the wealth be applied first to those that need food. Wealth’s bad name thus originates at humans that individually and societally confuse the distinction between managing it well or not. Otherwise, wealth remains the operational essence of human wellbeing—individually and societally.

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© 2018 by Hamid Rafizadeh