I think we might be. Because we want to accumulate wealth for ourselves, we cause other people to not have those resources. Perhaps they need it more, but when we do things to make ourselves better off, do we inevitably make someone else worse off? For example, we got a scholarship, but if someone else who’s poorer needs the scholarship more, doesn’t it mean that we’re depriving them of that scholarship? Aren’t we concentrating even more wealth into our own hands?
An argument I’ve heard against this is that we’re more “socially minded” so we’d spend this wealth better than other people. But that sounds too much like paternalism, and I’m kind of wary of that. And it may be an excuse in the end to spend it on ourselves.
Another case is that it doesn’t have to be a zero sum game – wealth can be created. Everyone can get rich, together, as we create more value. Win-win solution, as they say. In real life, though, the statistics aren’t encouraging.
I guess it boils down to:
1. Work with the system and do it so well that you can use your money to enact change (e.g. buy all the stocks of 1 company and make them change), or
2. Try to “boycott” the system by letting other people take good opportunities. Instead of hogging, have the magnanimity to give it to people who need it more.
Would you rather change the system from the inside out, or from the outside in?