Economics and Being

In a system of finite resources and potentially unbounded desire, either one establishes a reciprocal and egalitarian form of economic distribution, or there will, inevitably and even necessarily, be inequality in the concomitant distribution of power, and even ontological value. The problem with inequality is that it does not just take more from one ontologically equal actor and give it to another. It inherently degrades the ontological status of the one from whom more is taken. There is a valuation of intrinsic, existential “worthiness” in terms of being itself made when one actor is granted more than another. It is a valuation that has extreme social, environmental, and – of course – economic repercussions. If an ostensibly human actor is “worth less” than another, then not only will that actor receive less than an equal portion, but the means by which that actor can support him or herself, the places in which he or she lives, the relationships that he or she is able to form, are degraded. Being, in the ontological sense, is degraded by economic inequality.