How many of you garden?
Wow, then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
When you garden, you till the soil, plant the seeds, feed, weed, water, drive off pests and invaders, harvest, then set aside a portion of that harvest to plant next time.
OK, maybe you're not a seed-saver (and why not?), but you buy more seeds (or even starter plants to add to your garden) from those who do save seeds and start them for you. You still benefit from the seeds of the previous harvest.
What if you had a huge garden plot - acres huge. You tilled and seeded it, then tended it throughout your lifetime, adding additional acres from your saved seeds and selling your extra seeds to those who are getting started in gardening or who had bad years or who aren't as skilled at gardening as you. Your children grow up living off the profits of the crops. When you leave the fields to them, they pay someone to weed and harvest, but they've somehow skipped the tilling, feeding, weeding parts. Plenty of seed is left behind in the harvest anyway so there's a huge crop next year.
The children manage to make huge profits off their crops (the hoarded seed corn).
The next year is probably just as large and profitable. Maybe even for several years, especially if they've hired crop tenders who know the value of the unharvested seeds.
The fields don't look as nice (remember, the heirs aren't tending the expensive act of clearing and tilling and prepping the land for the crops, just planting and harvesting and hoarding the seed corn). The crops are smaller, so the prices go up. And up. And up.
The heirs start laying people off and making those who remain work harder and harder to extract a decent harvest from crops that don't get what they need. They start demanding the remaining workers work in their off hours, and adhere to strict moral codes because obviously their loose ways are affecting the crops.
The fields crumble, disease-ridden, scant, and terribly, terribly expensive.
Who gets blamed?
Why, the workers, of course. After all, they were the ones tending the fields. They need to work harder with fewer resources, and bad crops years will be their fault, so fire them ad hire desperate people who have had their fields die because the heirs stopped saving and selling seeds.
They not only cling to their fields, they buy up all the successful fields hoping to make their own fields succeed again. Instead, by using the same crop without supporting the infrastructure and without investing their hoarded seeds and without hiring enough field workers, they drive those fields into failure, too.
But as long as there are successful fields they can buy, steal, or destroy, they can stay on top, stay the richest, without any personal consequences to themselves. They and their heirs, and possibly even their heirs, will profit from this greedy mismanagement. Business will be less about the acts that comprise it and more about piracy - taking over other successful businesses and sucking the profits out of them before discarding them to pounce on the next successful business to repeat sucking out the profits and then discarding it.
Others who benefit from the harvests will support the piractical heirs for as long as they see profits coming in.
It has to end at some point. The crops will fail. Disastrously, if no one intervenes.
The only way for the fields to prosper is for the gardener to do all the infrastructure work: composting, tilling, weeding, protecting the crops from predators, rotating the crops, diversifying the crops, harvesting, saving plenty of seed to reseed the fields and to sell, and repeating.
Skimp on any step, and eventually the crops will diminish and fail.
And it won't be the workers' fault. They did the best they could with what they had, and against all probabilities, they kept the fields going long past the time when they should have failed. Instead of being rewarded for their industry, for their loyalty and dedication, they get blamed, fired, and sent away.
We see this happening at all levels of our society - the businesses that no longer work to support their infrastructure, their employees, by reaping what they've sown, and then sowing a sufficient portion back into the business and the employees.
Yes, business owners get to reap what they sow, but if they then keep everything they reaped without sowing it back into the business, that business will fail, and they will either lose their wealth or become pirate businesses. The time it takes to fail a business through greed is slower than the time it takes to fail a crop through greed, but the results will be the same. They may experience massive profits for a while, but once the infrastructure is deeply damaged, and the employee force shrunk below viability, those profits shrink, and squeezing the employees and forcing them to deal with a worsening infrastructure won't bring back the days of profitability.
If the heirs won't release the hoarded seed corn (money), if they use their seed corn instead to take over other fields and drive them to barrenness, eventually the workers will have no choice but to take away the mismanaged seed corn and redistribute it to others who will (hopefully) have learned the lesson of hoarding seed corn.
They will issue in a new era of prosperity. An era that will last exactly as long as it takes for someone to realize they can hoard the seed corn and drive their competitors out of business and start the whole process over again.
What we need to do is provide away to prevent these bad businesspeople from hoarding the seed corn. And if that means large taxes on them, they will still get to keep enough seed corn to remain among the wealthiest - and all those hard workers will receive fair compensation for the work they do, instead of nothing but blame and poor working conditions.