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Why Inheritance Undermines Capitalism

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Why Inheritance Undermines Capitalism

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  • Feb. 13, 2013
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In this writing Haslett discusses the problem of inheritance undermining the economic theory of capitalism. He acknowledges wide gaps in the distribution of income, but introduces even larger gaps in the distribution of wealth as a greater problem. Haslett supports this accusation by proving inheritance conflicts the three most important values of capitalism. He proposes to readjust balances of wealth in America by abolishing inheritances. Inheritances violate capitalistic ideals of distribution according to productivity by allowing rich children to enjoy their parents’ wealth avoiding economic productivity. These children then inherit millions, continuing their wealth. Inversely, lower class citizens who work hard and have high economic productivities see limited wealth opportunities due to their job class.

The second capitalistic ideal inheritance violates is equal opportunity. This ideal should provide everyone the same chance of succeeding in whichever opportunity they choose. However, many higher paying careers have limited accessibility to someone with lower financial resources. If citizens enter careers with the same amount of initial capital everyone stands a reasonable chance of being successful.

Economic freedoms are the last ideal violated by inheritance. Haslett maintains people should have the opportunity to do whatever they choose. Inheritance contradicts this freedom by preventing the distribution of wealth to the rest of the nation. Inherited wealth comes with the added benefit of accessibility the rest of us don’t have.

Eliminating inheritance would ensure that we are rewarded for what we produce by controlling gifts and bequests. It would also correct the inequality of economic opportunities due to current distributions of wealth. Lastly, it would ensure economic freedoms for our country by creating a level playing field to start every generation.