Do the Wealthy Deserve Their Wealth?

The main reasons for acquiring wealth in the capitalist system can be summed up as the following:


  • Inheritance
  • Luck
  • Knowing the right people
  • Less-than-legal activity
  • State aid
  • Gambling with stocks
  • Exploiting their niche in the market
  • Self-employment; having private access to the means of production
  • Illegitimate jobs (e.g. Glenn Beck, heiress, celebrity, etc.)
  • Born into wealth
  • Serving the bourgeoisie’s interests as a puppet
  • Corporate welfare
  • Drug market
  • Bourgeois parasitism
  • Windfall gains and windfall profits
  • Imperialism
  • Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor
  • Exploitation

Between 50% to 70% of wealth is inherited, according to Lester Thurow (1). United for a Fair Economy studied the Forbes 400 List and discovered 42% were born with enough money to put them on the list, and 27% were born with slightly more “average” amounts of wealth than the other percentage of those on the list (2).

If someone has a greater amount of money than the average working member of society, they can invest their wealth into acquiring more. These people are able to sustain themselves by having workers sell themselves as commodities in order to produce for them. The workers do not retain access to the means of production, do not often have a democratic working environment and are robbed of surplus value that is produced by them and that rightfully belongs to them; it is in this way profits in capitalism are a form of exploitation. Even those who “worked” for their wealth often end up in the same place of idleness and spend most of their time attempting to keep up with the Joneses and expand their obscene assets to even greater imperial heights. Essentially, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer; the rich make wars and the working class are the ones who pay for the results. Critics claim socialism would make people lazy when capitalism however creates situations in which the goal is to become wealthy so as never to work and only to exploit.

There shall be no wealthy bourgeoisie in socialist society because profits are put straight into the hands of the people. Marxist-Leninists do not claim all those with wealth are evil, but we do claim that none of them truly “deserve” their wealth or make good use of their wealth, and that there is no “right” to exploitation or private ownership of the means of producing the essential goods of life.

Works Cited:



Categories: Economics, Labor, Theory, U.S. News, Workers Struggle

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