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I do not agree with Sumner's statement about competition and "law of nature". His perception of how people who have prospered have done so through their talents and efforts while those who do not are so because of their defects is not necessary true. Indeed, we have heard inspirational success stories of how people have built a business empire out of nothing. Likewise, we can also find people among us who are unsuccessful in life due to defects like laziness. However, this is not always the norm, there are people who have built their fortunes at the expense of others and there are people who are struggling in life because of the disadvantages they are faced with in society.
First, people do not naturally prosper due to their individual talents and efforts. Some people may have been born with a silver spoon in their mouths and thus they inherited the wealth without any effort. On the other hand, some may have profited at the expense of others. For example, we have heard of large corporations engaging in exploitation of labor as well as child slavery in developing countries. In addition, some may have prospered because the structure of society and political system favors them. For example, the monarchs of the different countries in the world today are rich not because of their individual talents or efforts but more because the political system allows tax money to be diverted to them.
Next, people may be poor not because of their personal defects but because defects of the social system. For example, the slaves in the past were poor not because they were not hardworking but because the system did not allow them to hold on to property and even legalized the exploitation of slaves. Likewise, many countries today have not implemented the minimum wage system and thus this allows companies to continue exploiting the labor by paying them very low wage. Therefore, this shows that people may suffer from poverty because of external conditions and not because of their personal defects.