It’s the season to show concern for the less fortunate among us. We should also be concerned about the widening gap between the most fortunate and everyone else.
Although it’s still possible to win the lottery (your chance of winning $648 million in the recent Mega Millions sweepstakes was one in 259 million), the biggest lottery of all is what family we’re born into. Our life chances are now determined to an unprecedented degree by the wealth of our parents.
The underlying issue is a moral one: What do we owe one another as members of the same society?
Conservatives answer that question by saying it’s a matter of personal choice – of charitable works, philanthropy, and individual acts of kindness joined in “a thousand points of light.”
But that leaves out what we could and should seek to accomplish together as a society. It neglects the organization of our economy, and its social consequences. It minimizes the potential role of democracy in determining the rules of the game, as well as the corruption of democracy by big money. It overlooks our strivings for social justice.
In short, it ducks the meaning of a decent society.
To get back to the kind of shared prosperity and upward mobility we once considered normal will require another era of fundamental reform, of both our economy and our democracy
"Society" is, by definition, about how people relate as a group, as a collection of individuals living and working together. So a decent society can’t be one where the vast majority is unwillingly subserviant to an extremely fortunate, vanishingly small minority.
See on www.commondreams.org