But shortly after, there was not the wealthy, except in the sense of the bounty of nature.
For some reason, a lot of folks think that kings and “titans” of industry created the world as we know it and the peasants managed to divide themselves into the unemployable, the working class and the middle classes. There is no evidence of this.
The evidence is that as early humans were hunter gatherers, it was pretty much a communal society, sticking together to keep predators from attacking and eating them. When a predator did attack, they could stand and fight or flee, thus leaving a few of the weak and old as sacrifices for the predator, but saving the tribe, or if the odds seemed in favor of the humans, they could ward off the attack and all go back to berry picking.
Somewhere along the way, some of the berry pickers took grass and tied flints to the ends of sticks and later took fire and stone and pounded out metal into blades, and these early weapons helped defend against bigger attackers and also allowed humans to become predators, and as meat eaters, their brains grew, their teeth shrank and they were able to no longer be so far down in the food chain. They had more time to think, to be creative. They built things, the more tools they could build, the more time they had to be creative, they cultivated crops, they domesticated animals, life was good.
It was so good that certain groups of humans began to see they could take what wasn’t theirs and it would be even easier then making or growing food and things. Then, as these greedy evil people began to prey on their fellow tribesmen, they were exiled and turned into roving armed gangs.
By now humans had developed into a more segmented society, there were farmers and hunters and shop keepers and craftsmen and they got together and hired and trained certain members to be defenders against these attackers. After a while, these defenders learned that as the only folks trained in weaponry, and as a standing army to defend the community, they were paid for their services, and often treated with a little extra kindness here and there, and like most humans, they began to expect these kindnesses, and began to extract or extort them, even when they weren’t intended. But the people allowed them, as they were the protectors, and as they didn’t take too much. When a leader of the defenders became too corrupt, and when he organized the defenders to plunder those they were defending.
A new group would arise and destroy the corrupted ones. And for a while the new defenders would be very careful against corruption. Then time would pass and a wise leader would insist on an ever increasing but gradual compensation for the defenders, especially for those who, like himself were the leaders. Eventually these leaders became kings. These kings divided the lands amongst themselves as the areas they would each protect, and they allowed their fellow citizens to continue to work these lands, to live in the villages within these places, they taxed the wealth created.
The good kings paid the farmers “fairly” they priced items in the kings market at a price that most of the workers could afford, they allowed a little independent shop keeping, creating innovation and wealth, all of which they taxed at a “fair rate.” And they turned enough of the people’s wealth into colleges, churches, hospitals, armies of defense and even armies of conquest sent to plunder the wealth of others. Their people prospered. Life was much better than either under the evil kings, the marauding bands or as hunter gatherers.
The kings and their friends owned almost everything, because even though the creative and hard working folks had built a new better society, they hadn’t really organized to defend themselves against the parasites. The ones who had taken their royalties from the land, which was here for all, taxes on the produce of that land, on the creations of the workers and invested it in organized businesses that allowed for efficiencies of scale and crushed competition through honest and dishonest methods.
So as the king’s guard smashed a shop that was getting to be too popular, they opened another shop and hired folks to work there for wages. They called themselves the job creators, never mind they created the jobs by destroying other jobs. This has been going on for literally thousands of years, as new lands were found, and new tools were created, as all manners of progress was made, not by the kings and landed gentry, but by slaves, and peasants and workmen and craftsmen, the kings co opted this new progress and used it to build even bigger advantages over others.
I heard recently that in the history of the Fortune 500, only three companies have EVER been number 1: Exxon, GM and Walmart for 60 yrs.
So, today, I am not interested in arguing about who created the world, or God, or any of that today, but I am certain no rich person ever created anything but the opportunity to exploit a working person.