Stretching the Social Contract

“You can judge a society by how they treat their weakest members.”

–Gandhi, Hubert Humphrey and many others

I propose a corollary to the above — namely, you can judge a society by the pursuits of its smartest and most talented.

When society’s elite apply themselves towards making society better, fairer, and more just — everyone benefits, including the elite.

However, when the putative “best and brightest” apply themselves towards exploiting the inevitable flaws and shortcomings in any society — indeed, apply their talent to making such flaws bigger — everyone suffers.

Defining “Rich”

What makes me think of that?

Observing how companies such as Goldman Sachs — or brilliant individuals like John Paulson — used their talent to make billions (tens of billions, really) off of a dysfunctional financial system that they in no small part designed (no wonder they confidently assert that “no laws were broken”). 

Imagine if instead they used all that talent to make the country’s institutions, rule of law, etc. sounder and better.

Unfortunately, such a shift in attitude would require them to redefine what being “rich” really means.

Contemporary society may indeed be giving them a pass for their execrable behavior.

I doubt history will be so kind.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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