Dynasty Trusts Preserve Individual Freedom in a Stratified Social Order

A dynasty trust allows individuals to maintain a level of personal autonomy that is often difficult to achieve in today’s global economy. This is due to factors such as high tax rates, limited job opportunities in hierarchical corporations and public-sector agencies, and the erosion of property and privacy rights. With a well-designed dynasty trust, future generations can receive the essential support needed for their physical survival. Additionally, a dynasty trust can serve as a means to preserve family values and provide a perpetual source of funding for new business ventures and charitable endeavors.

When we refer to personal autonomy, we are talking about the ability to make choices and decisions based on one’s own values and preferences, rather than being driven solely by societal, governmental, or employer demands. Personal autonomy involves the internalization of values and beliefs, the ability to observe and analyze situations, the identification of desires and preferences, the setting of goals, and the determination of the appropriate course of action. It is closely linked to human dignity and self-respect.

In reality, only a small percentage of individuals have control over their means of livelihood. Most of us work as employees in private businesses or government agencies, subjecting us to the decisions of managers and superiors over whom we have little control. Even business owners are not exempt from external influences, as they must take directions from clients, customers, government regulators, tax collectors, campaign contributors, or public opinion.

Furthermore, we are all burdened by various financial obligations such as rent, mortgage, healthcare expenses, car payments, taxes, and more, which are constantly increasing and strictly enforced. This leaves little room for flexibility in our economic system, as we find ourselves in a constant struggle to meet monthly expenses. Economic efficiency requires compliance with workplace procedures and acceptance of management decisions, which may contradict the concept of personal autonomy. Despite living in a society that theoretically grants political and personal freedoms, most of us have limited opportunities to exercise personal autonomy in our workplaces or make choices freely. While we technically have the right to quit a job if we disagree with its conditions, the potential consequences of leaving often prevent us from doing so. In other words, economic realities foster conformity and compliance, as the necessity to earn a living supersedes individual desires for nonconformity.

This does not imply that personal autonomy is entirely absent from our economy. However, conflicts commonly arise between an individual’s values and the goals and preferences set by their employers, even under the best circumstances. When an individual depends on their job for their livelihood, they often surrender their personal autonomy to conform to organizational demands.

The loss of personal autonomy in today’s society represents a loss of personal dignity for individuals. As a broader consequence, it also creates a moral void in the workplace. An individual who solely focuses on fulfilling their economic role within a hierarchical organization and seeks to please their superiors and achieve profit-oriented objectives lacks the psychological capacity to make moral decisions or resist immoral ones. This phenomenon potentially contributes to the lack of moral fortitude and the prevalence of corruption among politicians, government agencies, journalists, Wall Street bankers, and media platforms.

By creating a certain level of financial independence, a dynasty trust helps insulate beneficiaries from the economic pressures described above. It preserves the kind of personal autonomy that is essential for self-respect and enables honest and morally sound decision-making within society.

Detractors argue that dynasty trusts may encourage irresponsible and unproductive behavior among beneficiaries, as their economic survival is somewhat guaranteed regardless of their actions. While this view has some logical basis, reality does not definitively support it. Throughout U.S. history, there have been countless examples of individuals who inherited family wealth but still made significant contributions to society, despite having the opportunity to squander their lives. Moreover, historical evidence suggests that inherited wealth has facilitated positive work that individuals would otherwise not have undertaken. It is also worth noting that irresponsible or corrupt behavior is already protected through sovereign immunity for government officials and limited liability for corporations, LLCs, and worker compensation laws. Dynasty trusts do not significantly alter this legal landscape. Lastly, it is possible that a hypothetical financially independent individual who makes no overtly positive contribution to society could be more beneficial to humanity than a mid-level executive who merely follows orders while working for an organization (such as the CIA or FBI) that causes harm in the world.

A dynasty trust does not guarantee personal happiness or moral conduct in society. However, it does offer the financial independence and security necessary for the development and exercise of personal autonomy. Personal autonomy is an essential aspect of human dignity and moral decision-making.

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