Posted on November 26, 2012
During the American civil war, it became quite fashionable for the very wealthy to pay for the privilege to have somebody else take their place in the actual fighting of the conflict.
I was thinking about this dynamic at the airport today.
Instead of paying for the privilege of having somebody elder fight for you, in today's world of frequent flyers and business class travel, you can actually pay for the privilege of cutting in line.
First class travelers have a much shorter wait to get through TSA than the normal schmucks who have to fly coach.
Is that fair?
I don't know. But the trend is catching on.
Almost every new idea when it comes to the highways of the future have something called smart lanes. Basically people who can afford to pay higher rates can move faster through traffic than people who can't.
We already have a c-suite culture in this world. The very wealthy get to go to the finest schools, eat at the finest places, live in neighborhoods that have armed guards posted around the clock.
Middle-class America, on the other hand, is stuck going to mediocre schools, eats at McDonalds, and lives in areas that are getting increasingly less secure.
We ought to think about this. As a society, does it make sense that the rich get to cut in line, have no worries about traffic, and live dramatically different lives from the rest of America?
Fitzgerald first posited that the rich are different from the rest of us, to which Hemingway chimed that the principle difference is that they have more money. But should society go out of its way to shield the rich from the everyday mundanities of life.
I don't know. But I ask the question.