"No matter how bad things get, we don't steal."
--Jim Braddock (Cinderella Man)
People have two general choices for improving their economic conditions. They can choose aggression, where either they themselves or their strong-armed agents forcibly take resources from others.
Or they can choose non-aggression, where they produce economic resources and engage in trade with others. They also save--i.e., they restrain consumption today in order to fund better standard of living tomorrow.
Because programs of aggression can yield more per unit of effort, the way of force tempts many. As temptation grows, ethical problems associated with aggression are ignored or rationalized away.
People who choose non-aggressive approaches for improving their economic conditions take the high road. They are not interested in get-rich-quick schemes. They refuse to improve their standards of living by taking property from others.
Instead, the non-aggressors are 'cathedral builders.' They are engaged in great self-funded construction projects that may not be completed in their lifetimes.
Economic cathedral builders may be poor, scraping together initial resources for setting the underlying foundation. Or they may be rich, buttressing structure that stretches skywards. Poor and rich builders help each other as they engage in trade to obtain resources that advance project progress.
When they get old, the present generation of builders passes along their work-in-progress to the next generation who take up the work.
Absent the economic cathedral builders, society's long term prospects are grim.