Sense of Entitlement – Rich and Poor

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey
Where wealth accumulates and men decay.
The Deserted V
illage – Oliver Goldsmith

I extracted this letter from the Age in Melbourne (Wed June 3, 2014). I do not mind people being reasonably rich but I do object when I sense an attitude that they are entitled to what they have, but the poor and struggling are not entitled to what they have (Because they do not work hard enough!).

I’ve had enough 

In these times of class warfare, it’s important to remember how the extremely wealthy became so and remain so. Over decades, financial elites took manufacturing offshore, exploited workers, used child labour, downsized the labour force, engaged in rentseeking , pillaged the environment , treated other species as objects for trade and experimentation, made political donations in exchange for privileges, tax cuts and changes to industrial relations laws, and hid wealth in family trusts and offshore tax havens. Wealth has also been inherited, as in notable cases of media and mining empires. 

In light of the attack on the less privileged, we should challenge the legitimacy of extreme wealth. Wealth doesn’t arise from a vacuum – it comes at a cost to other people, to other species and to the environment as a whole. Nevertheless, the ongoing accumulation of wealth depends upon the passivity of the exploited and I sense we’ve all had enough. 

Tim Hartnett, Mont Albert North

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