By Dan Kervick
Imagine a world and a society in which 500 people own everything – absolutely everything. These blessed few live in the Citadel, a mighty bastion of comfort with fortified and impregnable walls. The walls surround the Citadelians’ collections of lavish homes, spacious and opulent gardens, gorgeous pleasure arenas, and well-outfitted factories and workhouses.
Yes, factories and workhouses. These mighty 500 pay 100,000 other people to do various kinds of work for them. The work consists in transforming some of the resources and goods belonging to the 500 owners into a variety of consumable products, and also in using some of those products along with other raw materials to perform sundry services for the 500, services that include the production of splendid works of art and intellect.
The labors of the 100,000 workers yield more delights than can possibly be enjoyed by the 500 owners as the latter live out their luxurious but all-too-finite lives. The result is that the 500 owners in the Citadel are absolutely sated. They have no need to hire any other people to do any additional work. They already possess riches beyond the limits of enjoyment and desire.