The Mimetic Desire Theory
Simply stated–If two people desire something, three and more will then also desire it. See Renè Girard, philosopher: “……We borrow our desires from others. Far from being autonomous, our desire for a certain object is always provoked by the desire of another person — the model — for this same object. This means that the relationship between the subject and the object is not direct: there is always a triangular relationship of subject, model, and object……” Source: Wikipedia.
If the above is true, it follows then, that the more income/wealth gap there is in a society, the less content and more self-destructive will be that society. (If John’s family has a house and all Henry’s family has is a tent, and also, that it is obvious that Henry has no way of ever getting a house, or that his son or daughter will ever get a house, our society has a problem.) Compare, what I call, the U.S. American Dream Period, the 40s, 50s and 60s, a result of FDR’s New Deal, to the American Nightmare and impending Nightmare for many, of the 80s, 90s and 00s, which was a result of the Ayn Rand/Reagan/Thatcher/Mulroney social and financial Darwinism Period.
An equal-opportunity society starts with the children. The child of a poor parent must have the same opportunity as the child of a rich parent to a degree that is reasonable, relative to the taxable wealth of the nation as a whole. Can anyone of wealth inside a given society or nation, in good conscience, say that a child that is without a good home, without adequate nutrition, without good health care, without the access to learning opportunities equal to the wealthy is, himself or herself at fault. That the child is at fault? Part of the “taker” segment of the population?
An equal-opportunity society also ends with the old. Did that person have the opportunity through out his or her working years, the opportunity to have a job or profession that paid a wage that provided for himself or herself (and child-caring partner) and that provided for their children with the living and learning environment described heretofore. Did s/he have an adequate retirement income without having to be expert in financial matters due to a required contribution to a social-security program that was provided by the government. A contribution, by the way, that had no cap.
The SS Trust Fund, that is husbanded by the government, has had better returns than many investment funds. And the contributors thru the SS tax, and recipients thru retirement payments, don’t need to be financial experts either, by the way. Most people just want a job that pays enough to take care of the family’s housing, nutrition, vacation, educational and retirement needs without having to also be a day-trader (night-trader?after working all day) and financial expert.
The government, in addition to providing a healthy climate for goods and services inventiveness and productivity, its role also, is to create and adequately fund an intellectual and physical infrastructure that provides that—the child of poor or middle class parent(s) has an opportunity at upward mobility equal to a child of rich parent(s). This will be accomplished by adequate funding of public schools, extending the school day and removing the assignment of homework, providing adequate numbers of teaching staff, providing a quality school lunch program. The taxation structure–income and all other taxes and fees–must provide for the child, a) access to good nutrition, b) access to adequate housing, c) access to free, quality health care and d) equal access to advanced education to every primary and secondary school graduate that desires it.