It is easy to pretend we are appalled by the idleness that inherited wealth breeds in its beneficiaries, but why not look to the industry it inspires in the parental generation? We imagine that we can take away the economic component of family life, and leave the emotional bonds therein undisturbed or even improved. That is a fantasy.

People get immense satisfaction out of their work when they know they can pass on the fruit of it to people they love, with whom they have blood kinship and bonds of memory. This is not just the case for John D. Rockefeller or Steve Jobs, but even middle-class savers. How much productivity comes from this motive? We should all fear finding out.

Abolishing or strictly curtailing inheritance will create incentives to consume more of your wages in this life, rather than invest them for a future.