Income Inequality Alarming

John Ruskin, self portrait, watercolour touche...

John Ruskin Image via Wikipedia


Today’s St. Pete Times published an article by Robert Trigaux:
Income inequality alarming.

What would John Ruskin say? 


For the individual and the nation, the question is never “how much do they make?” but “to what purpose do they spend?” 

There are five great intellectual professions, which have their national purpose relating to daily necessities of life: 

  • The Soldier’s profession is to defend it.
  • The Pastor’s, to teach it
  • The Physician’s to keep it in health
  • The Lawyer’s to enforce justice in it
  • The Merchant’s to provide for it.


The true professional is willing to give up personal wellbeing
(to die) when “due occasion” calls for it:

  • The Soldier, rather than leave his post in battle.
  • The physician, rather than leave his post in plague.
  • The Pastor, rather than teach Falsehood.
  • The Lawyer, rather than countenance Injustice
  • The merchant, – What is his “due occasion” of death? 

As the captain of a ship is bound to be the last man to leave his ship in case of wreck, and to share his last crust with the sailors in case of famine, so the manufacturer in any commercial crisis or distress, is bound to take the suffering of it with his men, and even to take more of it for himself than he allows his men to feel; as a father would in a famine, shipwreck, or battle, sacrifice himself for his son. 

In his office as governor of the men employed by him, the merchant or manufacturer is invested with a distinctly paternal authority and responsibility. 

The merchant’s function or manufacturer’s is to provide for the nation. It is no more his function to get profit for himself out of that provision than it is a clergyman’s function to get his stipend. The stipend is a due and necessary adjunct, but no the object, of his life, if he be a true clergyman, any more than his fee is the object of life to a true physician. Neither is his fee the object of life to a true merchant. 

For, truly, the man who does not know when to die does not know how to live. 

Above adapted from Unto This Last by John Ruskin

It seems that within too many individuals; the drive to increase personal wealth regardless of what consequences might occur to other individuals or to the nation as a whole is at the heart of most of the world’s economic misery. 

What we have here is a lack of patriotism among the business class.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


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