Some people are reasonably concerned with the extent to which we have massive wealth inequality between people. While many argue wealth ought to be distributed based on concepts such as merit and the individual efforts of people, there is no escape from the conclusion that mere luck plays at least a substantial role in one’s ability to accumulate wealth.

Although people readily agree that some combination of nature and nurture are mostly or totally responsible for our success or lack thereof, they ignore that none of us is responsible for either. We have no control or responsibility for either the DNA we inherited or the environment in which we were raised. We are each simply born into a particular situation, many of which are pretty varied. We are born either lucky or unlucky in countless ways. All people either benefit from or are hindered by mere chance. There is also no escape from the conclusion that the world has substantial unfairness. Given that we expect humans to continue to have different DNA and social environments for the foreseeable future, we can expect continued inequality going forward no matter what we otherwise do. As such, inequality is here to stay.

It is important to note that inequality exists along every axis, not just wealth. We, humans, are unequal in virtually every way we can measure. I would love to play center for the Boston Celtics. With some practice, I expect I could knock down some three-point shots pretty effectively. I would happily collect the huge paycheck paid to a center on the Boston Celtics. However, through no fault of my own, and merely as a result of the genes I inherited when I was conceived, my height of 5’5” absolutely prohibits me from even being considered for the job. The Boston Celtics discriminate against me because I am vertically challenged. Is this fair?

We should expect countless differing, unequal characteristics, traits, and abilities to persist for the foreseeable future. Adding to this situation is the fact that wealth is often inherited generationally. Some people are born into wealth, while others are born into poverty. Life is a circus of inequality in countless ways. Even if we wanted to, we could never remotely succeed at making everyone equal in all ways.

For the person concerned about one particular variety of inequality, wealth inequality, the relevant question is what to do about it. The answer for the person also committed to the 3LP is always to resolve the issue without violating the 3L Legal Principle. So long as a person’s wealth was amassed without violating the 3L Legal Principle, they should be left alone as a legal matter. To the extent that a person’s fantastic but peacefully accumulated wealth is a problem at all, it is a moral problem. As a moral problem, we must resolve it without resorting to the law.

Simply attempting to solve the alleged moral problem of wealth inequality by involuntarily appropriating, or stealing money from one person to redistribute to another only creates additional problems. Besides violating the 3L Legal Principle and opening the door to legalizing theft as a proposed solution for many other issues, countless practical problems arise regarding who to steal from, in what amount, at what times, and who to redistribute to with the associated host of related issues.

Redistributing wealth equally throughout the entire world seems the logical end goal of those desiring forced redistribution of wealth. It seems no less a moral imperative to assist the poor person a world away than it would be to help a neighbor. Given the massive amount of global poverty due entirely to humanity’s failure to adopt the 3LP, I suspect many proponents of forced redistribution of wealth would not support equalizing all wealth worldwide.

Even if we could magically equalize all wealth worldwide, or even in a given community, this would be short-lived as people begin to earn, invest, inherit, and spend money differently. In short order, financial inequalities would again reemerge. Shortly after that, people would realize there is no point in earning money as it would be stolen by the government and again redistributed to people who reasonably also conclude there is no point to working. The net result of forced redistribution to combat financial inequality ensures mass poverty.

Other concepts such as laziness, drunkenness, irresponsibility, lack of motivation, or even excessive spending are all complicating issues, and as with all other problems, initiating force is not the solution. Such issues must be solved voluntarily by virtuous people acting to help others for the right reasons. Indeed, this is precisely what is encouraged with the 3L Moral Principle. We can accomplish our goals in this area by enthusiastically promoting voluntary charity and creating the economic and pro-freedom conditions necessary to raise overall living standards. As with other issues, we can solve problems peacefully.

Many people argue that wealth inequality is not a problem at all.xxxviii While it is true that the differential wealth gap between rich and poor is expanding, so long as the poor are becoming wealthier, there may not be a reason to fret even as a moral issue. In a free society, the poor generally become wealthier.xxxix This is indeed the case now throughout the civilized world.xl A free, peaceful, and civilized society requires that all people have an equal opportunity under the law to peacefully generate as much wealth as they prefer and otherwise peacefully pursue their happiness any way they please. As history has shown, the best way to help the poor is to create the conditions necessary for the poor to help themselves prosper.xli There is no better or more effective way to help the poor become wealthier than to calibrate all our laws to be in accordance with the 3LP.