I am reading a great book on the history of wealth over the four most recent world-economic powers: the United States, Great Britain, the Dutch, and the Spanish. Great book. It’s called Wealth and Democracy (A Political History of the American Rich) and it can be had at Amazon easily enough.
It contains some compelling quotations one of which I’d like to share here. This is FDR apparently in 1935 (p 213).
The transmission from generation to generation of great fortunes by will, inheritance or gift is not consistent with the ideals and sentiments of the American people. Great accumulations of wealth cannot be justified on the basis of personal or family security. Such inherited economic power is as inconsistent with the ideals of this generation as inherited political power was inconsistent with the ideals of the generation which established our government.
I couldn’t agree more. If we are going to praise the individual for creating wealth then every individual should begin as near to an even playing field as possible.