That's because it is. Perhaps the prevailing mechanism of transfer (money) artificial, but what it represents is a fundamental law of nature.
Money is simply a representation of time and/or energy and/or physical resources: all fundamentals of nature.
> ...it's even more so [asinine] when you add the fact that the "accepted solution" to avoiding the dilemma is for vast numbers of the second group to dedicate a majority of their waking hours in the prime of their lives engaging in frequently unfulfilling activities merely to survive.
As opposed to... what? Hauling water back from a water source every day? Hunting? Tending to goats? Farming?
These are the fundamental obligations of all intelligent life on this planet in order to sustain their own life. However, we opt to trade time/energy/resources in exchange for someone else to engage in these activities at scale, and on our behalf. In order to do that, we need to be provided with a representation of these fundamental traceable values by someone else; in modern times such as the form of money.
> Start with the fact that to earn something implies that one is not otherwise entitled to it; thus owes something in order to receive it.
You're not entitled to it. Nobody is. Absent the structure we've formed in the identity of "capitalism", you are responsible for finding water, finding food, and finding shelter. You are not entitled to it; you are responsible to expend time and energy for yourself.
Nobody is entitled to "live" with no exchange of time/energy/resources. We only do so under certain circumstances because humans are, fortunately, somewhat altruistic. To care for the elderly, the sick, etc. is something we are often inclined to do, though there is nothing fundamental in nature that necessitates an obligation to do so.
If you'd prefer to not be responsible to some middle manager in an office while you send out TPS reports all day, you are (in most places in the world) entitled to change your hierarchy of responsibility. You may go out into the wilderness and hunt and fish and build a shelter (as long as it's not on land that someone else rightfully traded time/energy/resources to obtain). But you are solely responsible for your well-being. Do not expect that you are entitled to someone else's time/energy/resources to sustain you.
I understand that looking at someone who has more "stuff" or a more free life to do what they want would suck for someone that does not have the same number of time/energy/resources. But surely there is no fundamental of nature that entitles you to that sum of that person's ownership, right?
Unless it's just a "oh that's not fair!" thing (my kids say that a lot!), at which point a simple math problem would show that redistributing that wealth fairly (read: to everyone, equally in the entire world) would leave the poorest slightly better for a short time, and leave the more privileged significantly worse off, most likely forever.
That doesn't seem really fair to me, especially because it undermines (well, ultimately destroys) the elaborate structure that we have formed to create pretty remarkable stability in this world in just a few hundred years.
So, we'll all start from scratch, again... That doesn't seem fair to anybody....
This puts us all between a rock and a hard place - most of us will be out of a job, and at the same time the factories are in the hands of the folks who built them. So lots of goods available, and no market (few people have any money).
Clearly this is a different world than the 1800's free market system anticipated. So we'll have to change.
That's not going away, automation doesn't mean people aren't producing wealth, it just means said wealth is produced by fewer people but those robots belong to someone and its output is rightfully theirs. Just because a robot produced something doesn't mean everyone is entitled to it.
> This puts us all between a rock and a hard place - most of us will be out of a job, and at the same time the factories are in the hands of the folks who built them. So lots of goods available, and no market (few people have any money).
This is true.
> Clearly this is a different world than the 1800's free market system anticipated. So we'll have to change.
This is true as well, but that change isn't going to be moving away from capitalism and seizing the labor of the productive to give to the non productive for nothing. The productive will not stand for that and will simply stop producing for others which means no robots and no automation and everyone fending for themselves again. Automation drives down the cost of goods, less work will be require from people to obtain those goods, but those who produce must necessarily have incentive to do so or they won't, and that incentive is wealth and always will be.
Incentive to live is different from incentive to work. Look at open source; look at researchers in universities. Wealth is not the motivator there, yet there's tremendous productivity coming from that.
The meaning of wealth is going to have to change.
Incentive to live is the primary but not only incentive to work. Wealth is what you need when you're trying to survive, only after that's achieved do other incentives matters.
> The meaning of wealth is going to have to change.
No, wealth is wealth, it's just stuff, that's not going to change. You need stuff to survive, food, shelter, etc, that's not ever going to change.
What's going to change is how wealth is distributed, that's where the conversation is.
What fundamental law is that? The one that governs kill-or-be-killed among animals on the African plains? I'm pretty sure we've evolved beyond that in other ways. And, most find this evolution generally desirable.
>Hauling water back from a water source every day? Hunting? Tending to goats? Farming?
Do you seriously believe these are our only options: laissez-faire (worse, captured) capitalism or goat-tending?
>Nobody is entitled to "live" with no exchange of time/energy/resources. We only do so under certain circumstances because humans are, fortunately, somewhat altruistic.
? It's fortunate that we're altruistic. It's a good thing, really, to help people--as long as those rotten, dirty, free-loading, good-for-nothings don't expect it.
>You're not entitled to it. Nobody is.
Not entitled to life? We owe someone else and the only form of payment for most is to produce wealth for others? There's no other way to organize an over-abundance of basic, life-sustaining resources for the common good?
>Nobody is entitled to "live" with no exchange of time/energy/resources.
This is just begging the question. You believe that statement only because of the current order.
Likewise all of your comments about "ownership" and "someone else's resources". You start with the current order, then defend it, essentially with "because it is". Beyond that, you present all choices as binary. It's either we do exactly what we're doing now or tend goats.
>at which point a simple math problem would show that redistributing that wealth fairly (read: to everyone, equally in the entire world)
Who suggested this? What "wealth" are you even talking about? The idea of wealth you're referencing is also rooted in the current system. People can't break their minds out of this box. I've only mentioned basic resources for subsistence.
>we'll all start from scratch, again... That doesn't seem fair to anybody....
No one's advocating that. I don't understand these false choices. You lay out all of this rationale for the status quo, then pin its justification on wholly ridiculous alternatives.
You have a right to life, you are not entitled to be taken care of, these are entirely different things. He's not saying you owe anyone anything. Basic life sustaining resources require labor to be made useful, shelter doesn't just appear out of nowhere, someone has to labor to make it: you do not have a right to someone else's labor, you must do your own labor to take care of yourself, it is not owed to you. Being required to labor for yourself does not imply you owe anyone anything.
> The idea of wealth you're referencing is also rooted in the current system.
It really isn't, wealth just means stuff. All systems will have it, it has nothing remotely to do with just the current system. Stuff doesn't just exist, someone has to create it, that someone by natural right owns what they create; no one is entitled to another mans efforts.