Sunday, November 5, 2017

#309 / The Worried Billionaires

The world's billionaires are worried. What are they worried about? According to Newsweek, they "fear that the poor will rise up."

When I first saw the Newsweek article, I put it on Facebook. I provided a "Pull Quote" from the article, followed by a Question and a Statement: 

The total wealth held by the world’s billionaires rose by 17 percent in 2016 to $6 trillion, and the uber-rich are concerned that growing inequality could lead to society turning against them. 
(1) How could they ever imagine something like that?
(2) Wouldn't that be nice!

The wealth controlled by the world's "billionaire class," to quote Bernie Sanders, is wealth that was socially created. It is absolutely legitimate to consider how best to utilize that wealth for the benefit of those not personally in possession of it. The questions to be addressed are all "political" questions. We do "live in a political world," and in the United States, we believe that our representative democracy can make decisions about how to structure our economy and society. Trying to figure out how to set up a system that reduces the incredible wealth inequality now prevailing is absolutely appropriate. "Rising up," in this context, means starting to take seriously the opportunity to use our political system to make significant (even revolutionary) changes. 

Americans, we all remember, are all about revolution!

Naturally, there are, and should be, debates about what to do, and what is fair, but when 1% of the population controls something like 35% of the total wealth of the society, it is probably time to see if putting that wealth to work for a greater percentage of the population wouldn't make sense. 

What is the point of this posting?

Not to urge violence against billionaires. I am against that. If that kind of "rising up" is proposed, please count me out. I think there is a better way. 

This is a plea to my fellow citizens to understand that we are, in fact, "all in this together," and that our political system needs to marshal the resources of our society to deal with the crises of our time: a natural world that is moving towards the massive extinction of species, from bugs to humans, and a situation in the nation in which hard working men and women can no longer find a sheltered place to sleep at night, and are homeless under bridges. 

What am I worried about?

I am worried that we are going to continue to let the billionaires take it all, and that because of this our world, a world that does belongs to all of us, rich and poor alike, is going to come apart.

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1 comment:

Thanks for your comment!