Nathan Heller in The New Yorker:
Around you, there is piracy and chaos. But you’re enterprising, and keep to your path. At university, you hardly sleep, and you eat what you can afford. Why do you work yourself this way? It’s not as if you’re getting paid for it. Another version of yourself, in another time, though, is. Now, living in the California sun with some success, you reflect on your poor, wan, sleepless younger self and feel a wave of gratitude, and then of prickly regret. The kid you were had different dreams; it strikes you as unfair that you sit pretty on the spoils of that person’s efforts. If you could take some of your wealth and send it backward in time, to your younger self, you would.
We usually think of inequalities as extending from bottom to top: I earn a little wealth over eight hours; Bill Gates earns much more. But there are also inequalities that extend longitudinally, from the past into the future. Your young self does labor for which your older self collects rewards. Such timing issues—how much money you receive or can spend now and later—have effects on your financial fate. In a more equal world, you cannot help but think, people would draw on their lifetime wealth throughout their lives, not merely at the pinnacle of their careers. You notice that older generations and big corporations rule the roost in the United States, but it’s not clear why this should be so.