This paper presents a model in which two groups in society are engaged in strategic interaction. Privileged members of society have the opportunity to allocate resources either to their own productive capacity, or to enhance the productive capacity of the disadvantaged. Redistribution to the disadvantaged can increase the productive capacity of society, but comes at the cost of rising political aspirations of the poor, which erodes the power of the rich. The paper derives conditions under which (a) the rich will redistribute to the point of equality with the poor; (b) conditions under which the disadvantaged face genocide; as well as (c) the range of intermediate redistributive activity likely to be employed by the privileged. Examination of empirical evidence suggests that the model generalizes across the experience of a panel of 102 countries, over the 1960-2000 period.