Because the wealthy have been in power since the beginning of civilization, they have been very keen to stigmatize poverty as an evil to be cured, but never wealth.
In the Enlightenment, people began to realize that wealth, like poverty, was an evil to be cured; Marx and Engels took over this banner, and unfortunately all talk of being against extreme wealth ended up being powerfully associated with Marxism/Communism/Socialism.
But, now, we’re finally moving into a post-Marxist society, where we can once again, after 100 years or more of Marxism/Communism, begin to talk about extreme wealth, or more specifically extreme disparities of wealth, as a social evil which should ideally be cured.
Note there is also a distinction between theory and practice: de facto, democracies tolerate extreme wealth only because we have not yet come up with a social system which can create wealth for the many which does not also have the (unfortunate) side effect of creating extreme wealth for a few. Really, if we could create a society with more equality, democracies would do that, because the many will inherently be jealous of the few, if they realized that there was no good reason to have wealth. As it is, even the most learned economists realize that we need extreme wealth in order to have entrepreneurialism, innovation, incentives, etc, and that our economy can’t do well without these things. So there is no push, at the pundit and elite level, to do away with extreme wealth, even in France, which is one of the more anti-wealth societies yet created. (more…)