This got me thinking, to what degree do people control their own wealth today, and should they have more control?
Who controls money?
For most of human history, individuals had very little control of their own wealth. Warring tribes raided villages and all-powerful kings and emperors could seize your property on a whim. If you worked hard and managed to accumulate some wealth, it wasn't entirely clear that you would be able to keep it, so most people were content to keep their head down, eke out a meager existence, and not draw too much attention.
But something important happened in the 17th century as property rights were established. In the Second Treatise on Civil Government (1689) John Locke wrote:
everyman has a property in his person; this nobody has a right to but himself. The labor of his body and the work of his hand, we may say, are properly his
- John Locke
This began a shift in society, where people could keep more of the proceeds from their work. It also meant that your position (class, caste, etc) was not set at birth. With hard work, you could be self made, and create a better life for yourself and your children.