The Justice of Inheritance?

Author: Belinda Banh

QUESTION: Is inheritance a just way to acquire wealth?

Ah inheritance! The greatly anticipated gift your parents have waited their entire lives (literally) to give you. It is common for most of us to inherit something of some value from our parents one day, but what does that entail? Is it moral? Or does it just propagate inequality?

If wealth solely circulates within a family, would not the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor? Is it possible to undo this history/tradition? What does the concept of inheritance say about our culture/society? How we view family, status, money? How would our society change if inheritance wasn’t allowed? What would be an alternative?


Sure you can argue that your parents worked hard to “earn” what they have, but that does not mean you are deserving of the reward. It creates a sense of parent dependency for long-term financial support. The act of being born, or having parents is not sufficient to warrant such a reward, especially since it is one that is determinant of the way you live out the rest of your life. It is not contingent on your own virtue. “Earning” has developed new meaning as the sociological system is set up to favor the wealthy, which allows little economic mobility/growth for everyone else.

How Inheritances Sustain the Black-White Wealth Gap

Here are two more articles to consider:




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