The Problematic Foundation of “Privilege”
The current social concept of ‘privilege’ is based off of highly problematic concepts of resource allocation. The concept makes people focus on the wrong questions. I’ll use myself as an example to show why.
I have a wonderful wife (Rose). Not only do we share incredible values on just about everything, but she is an amazing person, a wonderful mother, a supportive person, a loving wife, and on top of all of this, she is quite purdy.
Why do I deserve a wife like this, yet other men can’t even find a women who is somewhat friendly to them? Is this because I am privileged? Do I deserve a wife like this while so many other men have no wife or crumby girlfriends?
The answer is deeper than these sort of superficial questions address. These questions ignore the core reason people acquire resources.
My wife didn’t offer her valuable resources to me because she wished to perpetuate Aaron privilege. She offered these resources to me because I offered her valuable resources in return. I traded her resources of love, support, empathy, money, values, leadership, etc. to such a degree that she was happy to offer me her incredibly valuable resources in return. Pointing to my privilege totally ignores the basis in which my wife decides to offer her resources to others.
I used to not be that great of a guy. I worked very hard to be a better person so I could be worthy of the love and admiration of someone like my wife. I made sure that what I offered as a companion was valuable enough that I could be confident in the value I offer to a girlfriend/wife.
Are some people in the world disadvantaged? Of course. Some people aren’t able to offer the value and resources needed to get such a nifty wife. Does this mean my wife is being unjust by not dating them? Should she date men who offer her nothing and give them great love and value just because they were disadvantaged? Of course not.
When we focus on the people in the world who are disadvantaged the questions ought to be how we can make disadvantaged people more marketable. How can we help people be worth more resources to others? How can we make it so they have skills, virtues and qualities that make them a valuable person to a spouse, friends, and an employer.
Am I privileged? Of course, kind of. I have genes and an environment that made it so I can be who I am and where I am today. I am marketable to my customers, and I am able to attract a super cool wife. Other people don’t have the same circumstance. There are other people who are able to attract more money from customers and maybe they can attract two slightly inferior Roses that somehow add up to a great circumstance that may be considered better than mine — and these guys likely had fortunate circumstances to be worth such vast resources — but they are worth it because they are offering equivalent perceived values to others.
The main problem with the concept of privilege is that it ignores how people generally acquire resources. We all acquire resources by trading with others. People are able to demand more resources when they have qualities that are highly valuable to other people. When we see people who are disadvantaged, we need to ask: How can we help make these people more valuable to others?