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After certain amount of time, many of us know someone or sometwo who are in the 1%. Although some are born with wealth, the ones I know simply have a talent for making money. If you took away all of their money tomorrow, in ten years, they would once again be in the 1%.
In terms of working harder than the guys digging a foundation of a house, they may not burn the same amount of calories. But they are under a great amount of stress, as many many families depend upon their business decisions to pay for homes, food, college, clothing, and health care for their families.
They simply have a skill that pays extremely well. In most cases that skill is the ability to organize people, and pull together resources. Or perhaps they can hit and throw a baseball better than 99.9999% of the population. Or perhaps they have more knowledge in a particular area than others.
Mark Twain wrote an interesting story about this, in 1909, his last story. In this story, heaven is where we are all able to follow the work of our hearts, and we are appreciated for that work. Of course, there is no scarcity that forces people in other directions.
As long as resources are scarce, we may not starve as Malthus thought, but those with organizational talent or unique, useful knowledge will do quite well.