Further, in countries where wealth comes from rent seeking, political patronage, or what is called regulatory capture (by which the powerful uses regulation to scam the public, or red tape to slow down competition), wealth is seen as zero-sum. What Peter gets is extracted from Paul. Someone getting rich is doing so at other people’s expense. In countries such as the U.S. where wealth can come from destruction, people can easily see that someone getting rich is not taking dollars from your pocket; perhaps even putting some in yours. On the other hand, inequality, by definition, is zero sum.
It is safe to accept that the American public –actually all public –despise people who make a lot of money on a salary, or, rather, salarymen who make a lot of money. This is indeed noticeable in other countries: a few years ago one third of the Swiss, of all people, voted in favor of a law capping salaries of managers. But the same Swiss hold rich entrepreneurs, and people who have derived their celebrity by other means, in some respect.[ii]