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Different people become rich for different reasons, such as:

  1. Developing/selling a great product
  2. Investing
  3. Winning the lottery
  4. Inheriting family money

Some of these seem more fair than others, which leads me to wonder: Are there any studies that attempt to measure what percentage of people get rich in different ways?

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You have some incorrect ideas about wealth. First of all, inheriting money does not concentrate wealth, it disperses it. Usually the recipients of inheritances, both organizations and wayward children spend the money the receive so the inheritance is dispersed completely.

Most people who are wealthy got that way not by earning a lot of money, but by saving the money they did earn. How much a person saves and invests is a much bigger indicator of wealth than income. A plumber that saves and invests will eventually become much richer than a doctor who spends all his money.

Also, most people who wealthy are not manufacturers who "make a great product," they are ordinary professionals and businessmen: doctors, lawyers, business executives, electricians, plumbers, and builders. You can even find many blue collar workers who have become rich by saving and investing: policeman, firemen, teachers. Where I live there are two teachers, a husband and wife couple, who started out as ordinary high school teachers and now they are quite wealthy and own their own private school. There are probably more millionaire garbage men, than there are millionaire manufacturers. Owning a bunch of garbage trucks is enough to make you a millionaire. Now think how many garbage trucks there are.

Here is an article about typical characteristics of wealthy people:

https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/stanley-millionaire.html

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    $\begingroup$ Please don't speculate about my views on wealth. I never said anything about inheritance concentrating wealth. $\endgroup$ – Winston Ewert Jan 28 '16 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ No, you said some ways of acquiring wealth are "more fair than others", undoubtedly as part of your crazy agenda to justify stealing money from "undeservedly wealthy" and what? Giving it to your low-class, spendthrift friends and imagined clients who are "more deserving of that money"? This is a site about economics, not a forum for social justice crazies to start spouting their illogical schemes. $\endgroup$ – Lassie Fair Jan 28 '16 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ Your speculation is unjust. In fact, I'm economically libertarian. My "agenda" is to check my own speculation that the ways of acquiring wealth which are sometimes seen a unfair are not actually very common. $\endgroup$ – Winston Ewert Jan 28 '16 at 18:53
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    $\begingroup$ OP tries to find references on the wealth accumulation. Your answer does not provide a reponse with an analytical explanation. For which reason, I flagged it. This is not a place to make personal disputes. $\endgroup$ – optimal control Jan 28 '16 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ @LassieFair Instead of attacking the OP (Shame on you sir!) you should have asked for clarification about what he means by 'wealthy'. One obviously does not become a billionaire by saving his higher than average yearly salary. $\endgroup$ – Giskard Jan 28 '16 at 21:02

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