Let's Talk About HOW We Talk About Wealth Apologies in advance that this is more of a collection of notes than a thorough report of everything the conversation covered and how it flowed. Attendance was small (max. 6), mostly young/"upper-middle class"/politically progressives and feeling VERY guilty/ashamed about having access to familial wealth and inheritance. The below by no means captures any extend of the nuance of the conversation, but rather gives an idea of the headline topics we touched on.THE PEOPLE:-- Private school tuition paid for, no student loans, monthly allowances, mostly living rent-free.-- Might not earn much from salaries and freelance fees, but have access to savings, and able to support projects "out of pocket".-- Are employed/want a full-time job (to feel useful/contribute to society/pay taxes) but don't want to take the opportunity away from someone who needs to earn.-- Circumstantial, unexpected inheritance (e.g. death of a relative) vs. growing up with wealthy parents.-- Not wealthy because of luck/chance/good fortune alone; the unequal income is enabled by an exploitative capitalist system.THE INITIAL FEELINGS:-- Why does it feel scary to talk about wealth? Is this a British problem?-- What do you actually DO besides just talking about the existence of your wealth?-- How do we leverage our privilege for change?"MIDDLE CLASS":-- Uncertain language asks as a smokescreen.-- You can have little in terms of liquid assets/material wealth and "act" middle class.-- You can have a lot in terms of liquid assets/material wealth and call yourself "middle class" because upper class is old money/landed gentry/aristocracy/etc.-- We don't know how much money is out there unless you're a Richard Branson type.-- People with money know more people with money...ONE PROBLEM - SALARIED EMPLOYMENT:-- We can't fix income inequality without talking about income.-- We don't talk about salaries.-- Contractual obligation to not talk about salary... "competitive salary"... "dependant on experience"...-- Determine your own salary models?-- small % of private school attendees = large % of high income earnersANOTHER PROBLEM - THE PHILANTHROPY "SOLUTION":-- Where do you draw the line? Can you take anyone's money, regardless of their (offensive) personal values?-- Just give money away without strings attached or earmarking for pet projects.-- No perks for philanthropy! Do we give donors perks because natural high from doing good isn't enough for them to donate, or because we feel guilty about just asking them to give us money?-- Stop feeling sorry about asking for money - your cause is just!-- The action IS the reward; it is morally wrong to have money and do nothing with it.A NEW MODEL FOR PRODUCING?-- Stop looking at theatre in terms of loss/profit; social good/cohesion is a worthwhile "return" on your investment-- Do we fund everything? Reconsidering what art is necessary/needed/valuable when the world is collapsing.-- Maybe some art (regardless of how good/personal) doesn't need to exist right now?-- How do you stop the progressive rich from becoming gatekeepers with their wealth.CLOSING THOUGHTS:-- You are not a bad person if your parents made money; but if you consider yourself progressive you have a responsibility to act.-- Need to develop resilience in dealing with shame (I am a bad person because I am wealthy) and guilt (I haven't done enough with my wealth).-- No point in sitting in isolation, playing a tiny violin because you feel sorry for yourself.-- Wealthy conservatives don't feel ashamed of their wealth; they do with it as they please. We need to embrace the power and privilege we have been granted, and start throwing around weight like our conservative counterparts to dismantle the systems from which we benefit. NEXT STEPS:-- How do you communicate to the rich that the accumulation of their wealth was enabled by systemic injustice? It's not just "hard work".-- We need to speak the harsh truth, and worry less about offending.-- How do you create an army of change-making class traitors?-- Build a network; communicate, organise! Check out Resource Generation (US organisation for wealthy young people who are trying to dismantle the systems of inherited wealth through funding grassroots social justice initiatives).