The Rich Owe a Debt to Society

Innumerable benefits accrue to one who chooses to enter into society as opposed to living a solitary life. These benefits include security and companionship, but most importantly it allows us to reap the benefits of comparative advantage. That is, John is a good basket weaver, Sarah is a good farmer. They both need baskets and food, but instead of John trying to grow his own food and Sarah trying to learn how to weave baskets, they both spend their time doing what they're good at and John trades his extra food for Sarah's extra baskets.


Comparative advantage allows us to occupy ourselves exclusively in the area in which we are most productive, and society is a direct prerequisite to this phenomenon. A successful businessman can spend his time analyzing sales reports, building relationships with investors and attending conferences because he is not preoccupied with growing his own food or sewing his own clothes. He is able to practice his profession and thus create the value for which he is commensurately rewarded because, and only because, he participates in a society. The businessman has accrued huge benefits from the society and all the people that participate in it with him. He is indebted to society.

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