For my friends and I who fought our way to moderate financial success, money came from transgressing society’s norms. It might have been fucking rich dude after rich dude you met on Seeking Arrangements. It might have been stabbing your stomach each morning with a syringe of hormones, in order to sell your genetically desirable eggs. With much luck, it required doing the ambitious work everyone said you weren’t ready for, then getting mocked and rejected for it, until, slowly, the wall began to crack. You could never do what you were supposed to, never stay quietly in your place.
My friends who came closest to attaining the American Dream did it by breaking the rules on how to get there. The standard plan—college to secure job to home you own—was either unattainable or a path to the American debt nightmare.
Those with money usually think they deserve it. But most people who make the world run—who care for kids, who grow food, who would rebuild after natural disasters and societal collapse—will never be rich, no matter how hard or well they work, because society is constructed with only so much room on top.