11 November 2010

Unearned wealth

The resource curse comes from unearned wealth. Unearned wealth is an artifact of the existence of private property. It is the waste product of the private property system. 
Wealth that can be held without being earned is susceptible to strongman tactics. It is not intrinsically owned by those who produce value, and so it is easy to violate the laws of private property to place the unearned wealth into the hands of those who are able to wield power that is unrelated to the productive capacity at issue. 
Once the carcass of the animal is dead the vultures can come in. In the covenant of the parts Avraham chases away the vultures to symbolize the danger of the resource curse. Melakha is probably creative work, as opposed to the kind of work one can do in the service of the resource curse – the devil's work. The financial markets are rife with unearned wealth. Neo-classical economics cannot distinguish between earned and unearned wealth because in the neo-classical model all that agents ever do is unearned – they select how to dispose of their endowments. The model cannot accurately represent creative enterprise. 
Absentee owners who don't understand the business cannot, in the end, own the company. That value starts to float around and the strongman rulers take it to themselves. Only God can rival the strongman rulers for claims to the unearned wealth because God owns the stock of resources that made possible the existence of unearned wealth. "Ki li kol haaretz" identifies God as the counter-weight to all unearned wealth and the income it throws off. 
The problem of how to make for a creative world includes the political problem of how to allocate the wealth that comes to generate itself. When the store of unearned wealth begins to rise the world becomes susceptible to the resource curse. 

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