I've never considered myself to be a class warfare guy, but facts are hard to ignore or deny when they are staring you in the face. Take this recent headline, for instance: "The 85 Richest People on the Planet Now Have as Much Money as the Poorest 3.5 Billion." There are an estimated 7.2 billion people on Earth today, so that calculates to 0.0000012% of the people have as much combined wealth as 49% of the rest of the people. In engineering terms, that's 12 picopopulations vs. 490 millipopulations. We know the names of those top 85: Mexican communications magnate Carlos Slim Helu tops the list, followed by Bill Gates (USA, software), then Amancio Ortega (Spain, fashion), Warren Buffet (USA, investment), Larry Ellison (USA, software). We don't know the names of any people on the low end of the list (although I might be on it). Incidentally, the aforementioned top 5 are squarely aligned - at least to the degree they can benefit from them - with those of the Occupy Wall Street mindset. There's an obvious level of gullibility and stupidity on one side of that equation.
Would I rather be in the top 1.2 μ% than in the lower 49%? You bet I would. Would my attitude and behavior change if the transition was ever made? Almost certainly so. When you don't have a lot materially to begin with, the thought of losing it is not as potentially traumatic as the thought of losing a fortune, so your worldview inevitably adjusts accordingly. Motivations for acts of charity, in my estimation, tend to eventually shift from true altruism to motives based on tax write-offs and public perception. People who previously railed against "the rich" prior to becoming rich themselves seem to perpetually perceive themselves as one of the downtrodden stepped-upons even after achieving extreme wealth. They live in mansions on sprawling estates, drive high-end sports cars that get terrible gas mileage, fly in private jets, consume exotic foods, pamper themselves with servants, personal trainers, and the best medical procedures and doctors, and then sit in the midst of minimum wage activists while taking selfies.
This month's edition of Inc. magazine ran an article that is a case in point. If you didn't know, actress Jessica Alba has been making the news lately for her Honest company that has an estimated valuation of $1B, and its plan to go public with an IPO. "What's in a name? that which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet," so wrote Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliette. Who would dare to question the integrity of a company or its officers when named Honest? I salute the cleverness and wile of the strategy. The vast majority of the Hollywood crowd rails against capitalism and the proclaimed insensate evil of its practitioners while being the very products of unrestrained capitalism. We have a word for that: hypocrisy. There are lots of similar examples if you take notice.
Now to be Honest, there are also dupes on the overtly pro-capitalism side who mindlessly rush to defend 'Big Oil,' 'Big Pharma,' 'Big Agra,' etc., using as justification that doing so preserves their own potential for making it 'big' someday. Those at the top of the financial food chain, regardless of political bent, love their unpaid minions and institute policies to preserve their fiefdoms. Continuing to carry water for these people exacerbates the problem. If you want to promote your own and your family's lot in life, stop it.
Posted November 13, 2014