Ethics of Wealth

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Today, Bill Gates, the CEO of Microsoft, is worth some 50 billion dollars (Verdin)! Much speculation has arisen as to whether someone could ever amount so much wealth without under minding society. Gates has appeared in court several times in the recent years because of this assumption, as government and society have tried to strip Gates of his personal property and rights. Should there be limits on the amount of wealth one person can accumulate and can such wealth come through moral means?

This paper will discuss why there should be limits placed on property rights in order to fulfill certain moral rights that are entitled to society. Upon establishing the need for property rights, a discussion of wealth morality will follow. The vast amount of wealth Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, has accumulated will be looked at through the eyes of John Locke and explain why it is morally acceptable for one to gain such wealth in his or her lifetime. Finally, I will address why I think Bill Gates' vast amount of wealth has no reason to be viewed as morally suspect within the realm of today's society.

"Moral rights are defined as those activities or interests than an individual is empowered to pursue, or must be left to pursue, or must be helped to pursue, as he or she chooses (Velasquez, 91)." Relative to this, throughout history, American law has "held to the theory that individuals have an absolute right to do whatever they want with their property and that government has no right to interfere with or confiscate an individual's property even for the good of society (Velasquez, 177)." However, it becomes apparent by exercising these rights individuals often interfere with certain moral rights of society. It is important to note that along with exercising one's rights, especially property; there is also a duty to society. Kant states, "Everyone has a moral right to such treatment (as equal to everyone else), and everyone has the correlative duty to treat each other that...
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