- James Kingsford-Smith
The world’s distribution of wealth has not changed much over the past 20 to 30 generations. It seems money is simply passed from one wealthy family to the next. There have been some drop outs and some surprise millionaires but for the most part, rich families hold onto estates riches and assets by gifting them to their offspring after they have passed away. Even without this, the amount of money invested in a child born into a rich family sets them up with enough music lessons, private school tutors and time to really amount to anything that they wish to be. Of course everyone has equal right sin their pursuit of ‘happiness’ (a.k.a. financial success.)
But equality and liberty have always been at odds ever since the consumerist liberal humanist movement began.
We give our kids all of our money when we die because we love them and want them to be happy (a.k.a. safe… a.k.a rich.) So, nothing ever moves. No redistribution can occur because we can’t bear not to help our children as much as we are humanly able. Trust me, I am parent and it is almost like being possessed in our obsession to provide as much as we can for our kids. We love them too damm much!
And you can’t take the money by force from the rich because they have the schooling, the connections and seats of power to counter almost every attempt.
So you can feel as bad as you like about the starving children of the world and repressed families in your society but you will remain powerless to do anything about it because you can’t find the strength of will to give up a significant amount of your own wealth or convince those who are very rich to give up theirs.
The problem is that the exact second that you acquire more wealth, you instantly acquire more needs to meet it. You are stuck in the perpetual trap of consumer obsession. To speak otherwise is blasphemy! Money is one of the last remaining legitimate forms of prejudice and social separation. We don’t question why a person with more money gets a bigger house, more luxuries and more abilities to avoid judicial consequences. Rich children don’t spend nights in jail…they get bailed out. I’m not even talking about really rich kids, just the ones who’s parents could manage to scrape together the bill.
We don’t question it… Ever! But didn’t we make money up? As much as we made up racial class division and the superiority of men over women? Was this not an inter-subjective truth of our own invention to help with the impracticality of the bartering system some 4,500 years ago? I know that money has momentum and practical use now but that doesn’t mean that we still can’t agree that it is imaginary. With over 90% of the GDP not even printed, it seems truer than ever that money no longer represents the labours of our efforts or our ingenuity. Money is simply numbers on a screen which we immediately claim as our own as soon as we feel we have legitimate claim.
As soon as we feel we have acquired a sum of money we are unable to accept its departure except to bring us more gain. It is locked into our evolutionary instincts. Guard what we found. Share only with those close and important to you.
Just as you parents will share with you their resources while you are alive and then the remainder of their wealth when they finally depart.
It will be devastating when they die. I get cold every time I think about it and I am truly sorry for all those who have lost their parents. I think even if you did not like your parents, their death at least reminds you of your own mortality. If you deeply loved your parents, it can shake you down to your elemental fibers. I know when my parents die, I will not be able to fathom life without them.
They were my first mentors, protectors and friends. They gave me the very cells from which my entire existence formed. They gave me education, support, inspiration, food, luxury, fun, freedom to decide what I wanted to be in life. Most importantly, they give me unconditional love. I am indebted to them with each cell of my body.
So why would I want to profit from their death? Why would I want to think about that money or even worse plan what to do with that money?
Because I will be sad what they die. Because they wanted me to have the money. Because I will be honouring their wishes.
I doubt money at this point of grief will be of any comfort.
I doubt the buying of house or a car will comfort me when there is now a huge hole left in my life and my soul. Even after a year or three after their deaths, the money will never be able to warm the cold absence that would permeate through my everyday.
No, at that point, I am sure that I would merely accept that the money as mine, something that I deserve because I deserve to be happy. Because my parents wanted this.
This is how we justify inequality! By weighing up our own sadness and woe and prioritizing it above the pain and suffering of others. “My parents died. I feel terrible. I deserve this money to make me at least feel a little better.”
It is not as if I you were not getting on fine before they died!! It is testament your parents success as providers and parents that you are now completely self-sustaining by the time they pass away. You shouldn’t need their money anymore! You should be able to provide for yourself by now. You should have forged the connections you need, learned the skills for your trade and attained the self-determination you need to succeed. Self-determination that they helped you form (whether it be from positive or negative reinforcement.)
It is the very moment that the inheritance money is gifted to you that action must be taken.
This is the only moment where it would be possible to give it away to make the world a fairer place.
Here is the challenge to all of us privileged white children who what to make the world a better place.
TAKE HALF OF WHAT WAS GIVEN TO YOU IN YOUR INHERTANCE AND USE IT TO HELP SOMEONE ELSE HAVE THE CHANCES THAT YOU WERE GIVEN.
Use it to build a school for free education or support someone else’s school. Put someone else’s kid through college, someone of poorer upbringing, someone who maybe you don’t even know. Use it to feed starving children in countries that your country has colonized, stolen from and pillaged. Use it to get kids off the streets and into schools. Give it to people far from your demographic. You could even go on holiday and find a family who you feel really needs the money to get out of poverty and simply gift them what they desperately need... no strings attached.
Give it so someone else can have a chance.
But you would have to give it quickly. Before you feel the money is yours. Before your consumerist trained brain starts making plans and justifications for the money. Give it while you are grieving! This gift is what would make you feel better at you moment of loss. Because you will be celebrating your parents’ names through this generosity. You will prove that they have raised a courageous, caring and genuinely good human being.
Wouldn’t that be a proper dedication to their lives?
Wouldn’t that be truly honouring their memory?
I know this kind of plan is hard to actually commit to. I have been working on my own resolve for the past 6 years to ask whether I would actually do it. But I need to commit now. I need to commit before the temptation is too great. Before I get talked out of it by other people.
That is why the theory is to give half of the inheritance. You can still save some for your own kids or for your security. But you are taking a step to stop the unjust hoarding of wealth in rich families. You are challenging the line of injustice and inequality and finally doing something meaningful to make the world a fairer place.
If you want to things to be fair and grew up with access to education, resources, love and time to pursue your dreams… then you owe something back! This theory isn’t even asking you to give your own money, you are simply redistributing your parents’ wealth. You are simply paying it forwards.
Do you think you do that? Or would you like to just keep talking about making the world a fairer place?