chapter  3
18 Pages

Pathways to wealth accumulation

We are all familiar with Aesop’s fable of the ant and the grasshopper. That this fable has survived thousands of years bears witness to our need to explain

differences in wealth. Clearly, its moral insight still resonates today. Through diligence and self-discipline, the ants are ready for winter. They have worked and saved all summer to create a sufficient stock of food to carry them through the winter. Among economists, our current understanding of wealth accumulation stems largely from this view. Equally familiar is the concluding interaction between the grasshopper and the ants; the ants hold all of the power. They can decide whether to help the poor grasshopper or not. Even the disgust and self-righteousness that the ants express toward the grasshopper is familiar to us. Many contemporary “haves” convey similar feelings toward the “have nots.” As old as this fable is, it still speaks to us today.