Monthly Proposal No.6: levy taxes on heritage for the sake of meritocracy

It is written in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. But the subjective value of these rights depends on the possibility to use and appreciate them.

Not only but especially in capitalism the right to own and consume therefor depends on personal income and wealth. Still people seem to prefer a slightly unequal distribution of income and wealth and even seem to accept a very unequal distribution as long as they are able to believe that it is caused just by different effort and merit. However, I claim that people do not accept the status quo. They just temporarily tolerate it because of their systemic dependency. They know that the income distribution is not an outcome of perfect markets. And no one can explain the distribution of wealth by effort and merit.

The most obvious way to gain wealth without any own effort is heritage. It is no merit to be born into a rich family. It is even hard to justify, why a children should be born equal in rights but unequal in the possibilities to use them. So there has to be found a compromise. Even if it is a human instinct to care for ones relatives and even to bequeath them, the extent of heritage should not be allowed to challenge meritocracy.

So not only egalitarian but also whoever wants to plead capitalism as a meritocratic system should care about the decreasing tolerance for unequal distributions. That implies he or she should be interested in re-establishing the at least the credence that a minimum of meritocracy still exists and levy taxes on heritage.

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