A Summary of the Effects of Income and Wealth Inequality
Historically, in societies, we find that money, class, and law (which is typically what ensures free speech and press) are “power and influence.”
One can be born into a class and have influence, or one can buy status and get influence. In both cases it is only ethics, morality, and law that keep society fair. The problem is that, with money, status, and power, one can buy the law (directly or via influence). This leaves us only with ethics and morality, and not everyone has this to the same degree. Adam Smith (the Father of Modern Economics) said we had to rely on “moral sentiment“, and once you understand Smith, you’ll know why we need a few laws to back morality up.
Thus we can say, the only thing that truly protects the weak from the strong and the strong from themselves is the law. One of the biggest dangers for a just society is money and power creating “special interests” who use the law against the people, and amass wealth over time, to retain their position creating an “old money” aristocracy (search types of oligarchies).
This concept can be summed up by looking at “inequality”, and specifically “wealth inequality”. If we are unequal enough in income and wealth, it can lead to inequality under law, and this has historically always led to oppression, and then revolution.