What do the rich deserve?
Source Bill Lear
Date 05/02/02/01:18

I'm curious about how social wealth is accounted for in ... well,

Suppose I park Bill Gates on the moon and hand him a menu. On the
menu are the things that he might need to build a company. It might
read, in no particular order:

Item Price
State Protection of Corporate Formation
General Law
Clean Air, Water
Health System
Educated Workers
Food Inspection
Computers & Electronics
Basic Science
Social Norms

Imagine the price that would be put next to just one of these. Take
"Educated Workers" for example. This requires a massive investment in
each person, from cradle to adulthood, by parents, teachers, others.
They have to teach them all sorts of lessons, give them all sorts of
support. Imagine if each of these were enumerated:

Item Price
Shoe Tying
Nose Blowing
Bottom Wiping
Showing difference between up and down
Computer Science

This list could be extended to dozens of pages. Each item would be
subject to similar breakdown, and it would be an exponential cost.
Each person who taught the person was taught by someone else. My
parents would need their cut, so would my grandparents.

And on, and on, and on.

Pretty soon, the tab is pretty big. Gates would need to shell out
about $400 GaTraZillion dollars to create what he needed to create

$400 GaTraZillion minus Bill Gates' wealth is about $400 GaTraZillion.

Bill Gates owes society about $400 GaTraZillion on his $50 billion.

Is there a good justification Gates' private wealth accumulation ---
a donation, really --- at the expense of society?

Has anyone made a serious attempt at such an accounting --- in the
rich detail that one might need to hand a bill to someone like Bill
Gates who once said "the resources under [my] command are really
society's resources"?

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