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You might have earned it, but don’t forget that your wealth came from society

An excellent article, pointing out clearly something that economics glosses over: that a major influence in the size of the income from one’s work has been the contribution of knowledge and productive capacity of past generations.  Thus “I earned it–it’s mine,” or the marginal product of labor and capital is a superficial look at the outcome.  “We see so clearly, because we stand on the shoulders of giants.”  The legacy of the past is there in what we and capitalists earn too.

You might have earned it, but don’t forget that your wealth came from society Ryan Avent Evonomics: The Next Evolution of Economics November, 2017

Also see  Understanding harmful economic systems., especially the section on  obtaining income.

Caption: “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants”–Isaac Newton. The phrase is most famous as an expression of Newton’s but he was using a metaphor which in its earliest known form was attributed to Bernard of Chartres by John of Salisbury: Bernard of Chartres used to say that we [the Moderns] are like dwarves perched on the shoulders of giants [the Ancients], and thus we are able to see more and farther than the latter. And this is not at all because of the acuteness of our sight or the stature of our body, but because we are carried aloft and elevated by the magnitude of the giants. (Wikipedia) Image credit:  By Godfrey Kneller – National Portrait Gallery: NPG 2881


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