One thing I find amazing is the natural predisposition we all have for redistribution of wealth.  That is, if we don’t have it, we believe we are entitled to stuff from someone who has lots of that stuff.

“Sure I took some of her chocolate, she had so much” is the childhood version of the instinct we all have.

People who are perceived to be rich are charged more; people who are poor are charged less.  We have all seen it and probably all have done it.  Why?

Economists will say that any good or service has a fair price no matter who is buying it.  But they are wrong.  Whoever buys it is actually a factor contributing the price.

If people think you have more than them, they are happy to help reapportion your stuff to themselves.  This is the basis of leftist thinking.  Tax the rich heavily, but not the poor.

Most law suits operate that way.  “Follow the money” and sue the deepest pockets.  This is why most lawsuits are about redistribution of wealth and not retribution.  It is also why those with the deepest pockets are the best prepared to be sued and sometimes take the defence strategy of out-lawyering their poorer competitor.

The prayer of the person suing is to find the bank or insurance company behind the poor schmo whose sidewalk they slipped on.  Or sue McDonald’s for the coffee you spilled on yourself.  Why?  They have a lot of money and some lawyer will surely take the suit on based on the “if come” or on contingency.

A favourite passage from Kurt Vonnegut (“God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater”) reinforces this:

He recalled what his favorite professor, Leonard Leech, once told him about getting ahead in law. Leech said that, just as a good airplane pilot should always be looking for places to land, so should a lawyer be looking for situations where large amounts of money were about to change hands.

“In every big transaction,” said Leech, “there is a magic moment during which a man has surrendered a treasure, and during which the man who is due to receive it has not yet done so. An alert lawyer will make that moment his own, possessing the treasure for a magic microsecond, taking a little of it, passing it on. If the man who is to receive the treasure is unused to wealth, has an inferiority complex and shapeless feelings of guilt, as most people do, the lawyer can often take as much as half the bundle, and still receive the recipient’s blubbering thanks.”

So is redistribution of wealth just socialism?

It seems not to be just a political idea. It seems to be hardwired into our psyche.  Even arch conservative capitalists will take the position that someone should be sued just because they have lots of money.

It is just redistribution of wealth.

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