I did revise my q., which was about the opinion of a business failure on
the character of those who are successful. But never mind.
On to your response.
Your contention is that because i have more than you, as is to
a certainty the case, that I take from the poor, what I have
is the result of sin and crime, and, this being the case that
I am morally inferior to the 99 percent, including you?
I don't know if I would interpret the Balzac quote that way. It doesn't say that every person who has amassed a great fortune is necessarily guilty of a crime personally, but that a great crime might have happened just the same. It's possible the crime may have happened centuries earlier, and the possessor of said great fortune might just be a residual beneficiary - though not personally a criminal.
No one is saying that you
are morally inferior, but there's a deeper question of whether humanity itself can truly advance on a moral basis. At least from my observations of history and current events, I perceive that the mechanisms which operate in this world are not some sort of parlor game or even a civil debate. It's not necessarily a morality contest either, although some people try to present in that way, to somehow make their own point of view seem "cleaner" or more sanitized. That's usually where the discussion goes awry and becomes more of a competition of who is holier than thou.
As I see it, the basic problem at hand is not really about "capitalism vs. socialism (or communism)." All of our political and philosophical perceptions we look at today came about due to attempts to explain and organize the human condition in the advent of exploration, colonization, industrialism, and the immense growth in science and technology. It's just humans trying to figure out what to do with themselves. The early classical economists, such as Smith, Malthus, Ricardo, and Bentham, are probably most influential in forming some of the perceptions of capitalism and economics as most people understand it today. The liberals and socialists started to arise as the effects of early capitalism and industrialism were having on the well-being and living standards of the common people.
Most people nowadays seem to take for granted all that had to happen before we could reach the point we are at today. Despite whatever anyone might say about America, it is truly astounding to see the immense and relatively rapid spread of industries, railroads, and great cities which sprouted up all across the continent. Just like you were saying about the towers of Hong Kong where there was once just a poor fishing village. Manhattan Island was originally acquired in a crooked $24 land deal, but look at it today. Still, all the physical processes that had to take place, as well as the necessary scientific and technical knowledge required to build it all, it's enormous - and the processes continue unabated to this day.
One of the more unfortunate side effects of all this industrial and technological advancement is that we also have greatly improved our killing machines and our ability to make war more effectively. Back in the day, they seemed to portray war as some kind of glorious, honorable event. The wars from earlier centuries seemed to be reflective of a swashbuckling, cavalier culture. But once it became clear that the business of war depended upon industrial and technological prowess, then that became the guiding principle of geopolitics. The arms race was on.
But after the industrial-scale devastation and killing which took place in the World Wars, and the threat of atomic weapons which came out as an after-effect, that caused most human governments to sit and take account of the situation. We realized that some things had to change in how we related to geopolitics and war as general concepts. It seemed as if human development of industry and technology had surpassed our moral, political, and social development (which had also progressed, but perhaps not as fast).
As a result, one of the things that had to fall by the wayside was nationalism. The Allied powers which won WW2, however different they might have been from each other, all ostensibly agreed that nationalism as a mode of thought and a way of operating had to go. Along with that was colonialism and racism - as they were modes of thought which ran along parallel lines with nationalism. Such ways of thinking could no longer be tolerated or encouraged. America changed quite a bit, and I think we must have had an "Emperor's New Clothes" moment, which may have made us a bit crazy. But instead of slinking away in shame, we decided to stay naked and enjoy ourselves, baring ourselves to the rest of the world, which just shakes its head in disbelief.
What we need in America most of all is not more wealth - or even necessarily a more equitable distribution of wealth (although that might help in the short term). What we need is political stability, which would then lead to greater economic stability. There may always be haves and have nots. There may always be rich and poor. But as long as even the lower classes can have a reasonable expectation of political and economic stability, then there will be a certain degree of contentment. It's not really about class envy or who has the most toys or keeping up with the Kardashians, as a lot of people try to present it.
It's more about responsible, restrained, and mindful use of power - whether it's political power, economic power, or the power of a nuclear bomb.
If humans are unable to restrain themselves and grow beyond what they perceive as "natural," then there may very well be natural consequences. One of your country's more famous (or perhaps infamous) philosophers said "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." Despite its cold-blooded tone, there is a certain scientific logic to this statement. I don't see how anyone could argue that this is not the case. But it's still a primitive way of thinking, and it indicates that human civilization still has a long way to go before we ever reach any great enlightenment or progress. We may not even survive that long.
I realize that many people see socialism as some idealistic, naive, unattainable, utopian pipe dream which is doomed to fail and is often associated with some of the most atrocious and heinous human rights violations in human history. Instead of bringing out the best in humans, it somehow brought out the worst in humans. But that should not mean that the basic desire for human progress is necessarily a bad thing.
Thing is, if we don't move forward, then we end up moving backwards. In pre-industrial times, the rise and fall of empires didn't matter much in the grand scheme of things. Humans ultimately recovered. But now, with the world being much smaller and more multiply-connected as it is, the consequences of discord and failure seem far greater and uncharted territory.
So, I would at least hope that all those wealthy and powerful and hard-working people with all that brainpower you spoke of earlier at least have enough brainpower to consider a few things about the state of the world, beyond just superficialities about "look how rich I am" kind of stuff. Keep up with the Kardashians if you must, but you might also want to take a look at the bigger picture from time to time.