Everyone should be rich.

Don't dismiss that simple moral statement out of hand. And notice that I am certainly not asserting any logical non sequitur, such as "Everyone should be richest," or even "Everyone should be richer than someone." Here by rich I mean having enough money to be able to do what one wants.

There are several reasons to wish that everyone should be rich. It would greatly reduce social problems, it would increase freedom, it would provide the basis of happiness for all, and it would identify greed.

There are two pithy quotes about the evils of poverty: The 1942 William Beveridge report identified the Five Giant Evils as Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor, and Idleness; while Franklin Roosevelt's 1941 State of the Union speech sought to achieve the "four freedoms;" Freedom of Speech and Expression, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. Want, which is a synonym for poverty, appears on both lists, and clearly the Five Giant Evils would be greatly ameliorated and the four freedoms strongly supported if everyone were rich.

Social problems include crime, lack of education, slums, homelessness, political unrest, war, and police brutality, among others. All of these social problems would be greatly ameliorated if we could eliminate poverty (which is what it means to say that everyone should be rich.) Being rich would allow people to walk away from threats of domination by others, thereby greatly increasing feedom. Being rich would allow people to pursue their own goals in life, and so increase happiness.

Perhaps most importantly, if some persons were not happy with the situation in which everyone was rich, those persons would immediately be exposed as desiring to obtain status or dominance ahead of other people. The rich populace could laugh and say, "Oh, (s)he's just greedy." There would still be politicians, but they would of course be clearly identified as power seekers; any efforts they made to achieve power by force would be met by derision from the rich!

Is this a pipe dream?

Well, I don't think we can eliminate the power hungry. As long as there are people there will always be those who desire power over others. And they will continue to achieve such power, by virtue of their skills at persuasion and salesmanship and their charismatic personalities. But it will be quite difficult to achieve power by force, except over small subgroups of people who enjoy being subservient.

But we can provide money for all, and indeed we will have to do so more and more as unemployment continues to increase. It's a simple enough thing to do, and many nations do a great deal to eliminate poverty already, by means of state welfare. As automation increases, societies will begin to share the wealth of highly capable robots and computers, and it will be ever easier to provide money for all, to fuel the economic engine by providing lots of spending on consumption.

The only reason this might be a pipe dream is because some people would really not want to live in a world in which everyone is rich. These people would try to use power to block welfare and other programs for distributing wealth to the poor. Yet sooner or later everyone would see these people for what they are: greedy power hungry status seekers. Once everyone understands this, these people can simply be mocked and shunned into insignificance.