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Property, Ownership, and the Concentration of Wealth

What is property? What is wealth? Who has a right to ownership? What moral quandaries are to be found in the concentration of wealth? Over the past several decades, wealth has become, in many ways, largely dissociated from real things, from tangible beings. This dissociation stems not only from the movement to a fiat currency, but also becomes intensified through the increased embedding of our lives in a digital environment. The intangibility of information and services rendered through networked devices defy a lot of previously-established paradigms for the understanding of wealth.

But the problems of economic structure extend beyond these obvious pains today.

(Re-)Distribution of Goods and Means?

A common complaint against capitalism, particularly in later years, concerns the concentration not only of static wealth (i.e., many dollars), but with that often control over the means of production and those causes from which further wealth is generated. Or, to put this in the words of Ray Charles: them that got is them that gets.

When this centralization becomes excessive, it can have profound negative effects beyond mere dollars and cents. Many young persons today, for instance, believe their paths to financial security and independence are dangerous, narrow, and disappearing. Such frustrations, historically, have proven dangerous for societies. Efforts at resolving the conflict, however, often receive poor formulation. Simple solutions proposed for complex problems lead to chaos or even bloodshed.

Yet bringing change to how we think of our relationship to goods and their production, how we value work and the activity of human beings in the world… these are questions that we cannot safely ignore.

What can we do today?

Immediately and directly, if we are honest? Very little. But economics must put people back at the center of its considerations (and with that, a deep understanding of human nature), and such thinking typifies the endeavors of the Lyceum Institute. So join us this Wednesday (11 October 2023 from 5:45–7:15pm ET) and discuss the issues of property, ownership, the concentration of wealth, the constitution of economies, and more! The potential questions are endless: usury, credit cards, just wages, labor and work, and so on and on. Learn more about our Philosophical Happy Hour.

Philosophical Happy Hour

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Come join us for drinks (adult or otherwise) and a meaningful conversation. Open to the public! Held every Wednesday from 5:45–7:15pm ET.