Got TIPS or BREAKING NEWS? Please call 1-284-442-8000 direct/can also WhatsApp same number or Email ALL news;                               ads call 1-284-440-6666

Capital is multigenerational

October 21st, 2023 | Tags: Dickson C. Igwe economics BVI Virgin Islands
Dickson C. Igwe. Photo: VINO/File
Dickson C. Igwe

Inherited Capital is the greatest source of social inequality. Capital ownership keeps specific families on top the social and wealth pyramid, for multiple generations. Capital and power are synonyms. The system of social class with its various divisions sits on the ownership of capital and wealth above any other consideration.

In the Virgin Islands, land ownership- land is capital- by the native population after slavery and the plantation, propelled certain families up the social ladder who remain at the top even to this day, aided by distinctions such as the ability to read and write, speak the Queen’s English, wile, and a fairer skin.

OK. A glance at the list of global corporations and their owners tells a story. Most of these businesses are American, Chinese Pacific, and European. From Walmart to JP Morgan, Facebook to Twitter, Ali Baba to TikTok, Virgin Atlantic and Dyson, Marriott to the Hilton, Apple and Google, Tesla and Exxon Mobil, Cartier, Christian Dior, and Louis Vuitton, then add a host of international businesses, from India to South Korea and Mexico to Nigeria –corporations concentrate wealth and power in a few hands.

Global capital, controlled by a handful of people and their families is the reality: the norm. Global corporations and their owners rule the world. Albeit, fund managers, trusts, offshore accounts, foundations, and complex securities, disguise this ownership. Global Capital uses an army of lawyers, accountants, bankers, financiers, security types, and administrators: the buffer between the 1% and the rest.

Then, the nature of capital is such that it outlasts its owners who are wise enough to ensure the control of these assets stays within their families or a select group of individuals and organizations after they die.

A second reality is that in societies that are strong scientifically, socially, and economically, sustaining wealth from one generation to the next is much easier than in poorer lands. A billionaire in the USA is better able to ensure future generations enjoy his wealth than a billionaire in Nigeria. Social and economic stability better protects the wealthy. In a crisis-ridden land and war-torn country, a fortune is lost at the drop of a hat if the investor is not cautious.

Now, capital can pre-exist wealthy individuals, who are heirs to capital owned by their forebears, this is achieved with wills, trusts, and foundations, the means of ensuring the continuing hegemony of the founders and pioneers after death. Trusts and wills ensure their children are unable to dispose of that capital when they pass on, this is achieved through complex and elaborate legal and financial device.

One of the features of wealthy families is that they are inheritors of wealth and capital. The idea that all start at the same level, and have access to the same opportunities, for example, the idea of the ‘’ American Dream’’ is fairy tale.  

Inheritance drives social inequality in spite of attempts by socialist governments to create a level playing field through wealth tax, inheritance tax, and progressive taxation. Two similar individuals with equal competence, where one inherits millions and the other encumbered by poverty and deprivation. It is easy to know who will prevail in the game of life. Capital will ensure the former rules over the latter.

Then, geography is a major part of why social inequality exists globally. A child born in a rich country with an income per capita exceeding $50K with access to great healthcare and education has better life chances than a child born in a poor and destitute country where the average income is $1K per annum and life expectancy is 50. Education and competence may aid the child in the poor country, but usually, that means migration to the richer land.

Capital ownership and inheritance are by no means the only factors in the wealth stakes. Education, competence and sheer good fortune all factor into why some are wealthy, middle-income, and poor. Inheritance remains invincible as the route to wealth, however. Capital and its ownership is the most brutal divider of men into the different social and income groups. That is the narrative of history.

Dickson Igwe

9 Responses to “Capital is multigenerational ”

  • Citizen (21/10/2023, 12:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    another good read
  • ... (21/10/2023, 13:19) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    A people without memory is a people without future
  • ------------------------------------ (21/10/2023, 14:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The punishment should fit the crime. Capitalism is a crime
  • Manjacket (22/10/2023, 15:27) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    It should not be a Black-white divide on passing on generational wealth. Blacks have endured centuries of exploitation and expropriation of their labour to build wealth for whites. A slave life was committed to producing wealth and comfort for white masters. It is challenging to provide for generational wealth when you are barely threading water, barely surviving economically. The descendants of white slave owners, etc a competitive advantage in providing generational wealth for their offsprings. The reality is whites live in privileged conditions, though they may proclaim that they were not directly engaged in slavery, they continue to benefit from the fruits of slavery, slave trade,,etc.

    For the most part, they owned and control nearly 100% of wealth, power, resources, businesses, and levers of government support. They used government to amass wealth, power, resources, capital etc. Blacks inspite of their labour building the economy, power of the US, industries, ie, finance, banking, transportation, telecommunications, shipping, education, etc, earned less than 0.5% of wealth in the US. The situation in the UK is more than likely similar to what situation is in the US. Further, the sociopolitical structure weighted and designed to benefit Whites and disadvantaged Blacks, ie, political system, courts, extralegal system, etc. For example,,the US Homestead Act of 1862 afforded residents who were living on land for at least 5 years and making nominal improvements to the land were given titled to 160 acres. Nevertheless, Blacks were not allow to participate in the program; there were/are two Americas—-one white, one black.

    Moreover, for the last several weeks, Dickson has fueled a discussion on capital, wealth, taxes and debt. It came out in the discussions that the rich and wealthy can effectively used taxes and debt to get richer/wealthier; whereas, the same taxes and debt make the middle class and poor poorer. It also came in the discussion that he who has the gold makes the rules; ie, they can influence politicians to laws to benefit them. In the US, the tax is an incentive government guidelines on how to partner with the rich
    to do what the government wants and need to do; it is a punishment for the poor. Access to capital is used to invest in assets to build wealth to build generational wealth.
  • Bush Professir. (22/10/2023, 19:57) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Virgin Islands[British] was characterized as a poverty stricken, little sleepy hollow, and the poor house of the West Indies. This characterization by the planter class caused them to treat the VI as only useful as a bird sanctuary and bolted speedily from the territory, leaving their land behind. Virgin Islanders, our forebears, purchased the land left behind by the planter class. Consequently, land became Virgin Islanders identity. People in other Caribbean countries for the most part did not have ownership of land similar to Virgin Islanders that could be call an identity and an asset. Families passed this asset from generation to generation. Today, this asset is at risk, for some who inherit the asset are not familiar and connected to it and are using and now treating it as asset as an ATM. At the current rate of sale, pretty soon Virgin Islanders will be landless and powerless. And using land to build generational wealth and passing land on as generational wealth becomes a fleeting option.
  • To Manjack (22/10/2023, 21:15) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    To Manjack, stop blaming Whites for the deplorable conditions and disadvantage positions in which they find themselves. It is their behaviors, attitude, laziness, their dependency and entitlement disposition, lack of drive, initiative, and empowerment, etc is why they’re not taking advantage of available opportunities and that is mostly responsible for their status. Whites success is attributable to their drive, entrepreneurship, less dependency on government, the desire to take advantage of and leverage, all the available opportunities, etc. It has been 189 years since slavery was abolished in the Virgin Islands, so, stop using the pathologies of slavery and colonialism as a crutch. They were handicaps, yes, but they have been removed. Whites are not still benefiting from slavery and colonialism. I’m not one who subscribe to slavery being beneficial to slaves. Slavery was brutal, exploiting, etc, yes, but it is time to turn the page and move on. Let’s travel this journey together working collectively.
    • Sambo (23/10/2023, 16:51) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      @To Manjack, it is either that you are a)deliberately avoiding the truth about history, ie, slave trade, slavery, colonialism, 1884 Berlin Conference( (scramble for Africa), etc., or b) you are sincerely ignorant of the truth. MLK: “There is nothing in the world more dangerous than sincere ignorance.” Nuff said.
  • RealPol (22/10/2023, 22:45) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    For centuries, Blacks have been used as a capitalist element in the empowerment plan of others. It is time we ditch that plan and start our own self-empowerment plan. We need to start employing group economics, stop depending on others, for our social, economic,,political,etc. well being. We have had some handicaps and got off to a slow start but every journey begins with a first step, another step and so on. Planning, organizing, unity, Self-empowerment, practicing group economics,,etc are the vehicle that will take us on the path to our target destination, creating generational wealth.
    • @realpol (23/10/2023, 09:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      To RealPol, real, powerful truth, and suggestion(s) for the way forward. Someone much smarter than me says, “ without power and money, freedom is just a hopeless fancy. Passing on generational wealth is a Herculean task for the poor and lower middle class who starts and continues to struggle in a minus, disadvantage position.

Create a comment

Create a comment

Disclaimer: Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) welcomes your thoughts, feedback, views, bloggs and opinions. However, by posting a blogg you are agreeing to post comments or bloggs that are relevant to the topic, and that are not defamatory, liable, obscene, racist, abusive, sexist, anti-Semitic, threatening, hateful or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be excluded permanently from making contributions. Please view our declaimer above this article. We thank you in advance for complying with VINO's policy.

Follow Us On

Disclaimer: All comments posted on Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) are the sole views and opinions of the commentators and or bloggers and do not in anyway represent the views and opinions of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Virgin Islands News Online and its parent company.