Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 31 Share on Twitter 12 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/18/19

The Unasked Question "How many more billionaires can civilization sustain before it collapses?"

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     (# of views)   7 comments
Author 2220
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Brian Lynch
Become a Fan
  (12 fans)

The New York Times recently asked each of the Democratic primary candidates for President a series of identical questions. The last question on their list was, "Does anyone deserve to have a billion dollars?"

Important questions about wealth inequality and its impact on the environment are not being asked to the Presidential Candidates
Important questions about wealth inequality and its impact on the environment are not being asked to the Presidential Candidates
(Image by New York TImes)
  Details   DMCA

The trivial framing of that question bypassed the grave urgency for asking it in the first place. In a variant form of the question the Times was essentially asking, "Isn't it OK to be a billionaire if you played by the rules and worked hard to earn it?"

The wording of the question pre-supposes that the laws and social rules in place, by which a person may accumulate a billion-dollars, are fair and open to anyone. It ignores whether inherited wealth is also deserved. Most importantly, it treats wealth as if it is only a money count and not a measure of privilege and social power. By doing so, the question as it was posed ignored the essential problem that extreme private wealth is toxic to human society regardless of a person's character or how they obtained it.

A more salient question would have been, "How many more billionaires can this human society sustain before it collapses?

In the 50,000-year history of human civilization, the concepts of private ownership and private wealth are recent developments. The full ramifications of these constructs on our social cohesion and collective welfare are still being revealed. The written history of civilizations offers no comfort. There are no examples of a happy, stable society where extremes of wealth inequality existed. The lessons of history seem to be that a suitable balance of power is required to sustain a healthy and stable society. Human populations simply cannot tolerate distributions of wealth/power that either force unnatural equality or permit unlimited extremes of private wealth.

There is no question that we crossed the Rubicon into a world where extreme wealth inequality is corrupting world governments and destroying the balance of nature. The questions we should be asking candidates for President and all our elected officials are, "What are your plans to rebalance the distribution of wealth and social power in America?" And then the follow-up question, "What are you going to do to stabilize and rebalance the Earth's damaged ecology?"

 

Must Read 4   Supported 3   Valuable 2  
Rate It | View Ratings

Brian Lynch Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Brian Lynch is a retired social worker who worked in the areas of adult mental health and child protection for many years. His work brought him into direct contact with all the major social issues of the day and many of our basic social (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Media Silent on Fukushima Radiation Impact in US

Creepy Netflix Discovery Highlights What's Wrong with Social Media Today

Houston, Take Down This Threatening Message

Propaganda in the Digital Age - Mind Control on a Massive Scale

Wage History and The Case for A Living Wage

On September 19th Donald Trump Declared Himself Our Dictator

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

5 people are discussing this page, with 7 comments


Brian Lynch

Become a Fan
Author 2220
Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Jul 28, 2006), 12 fans, 75 articles, 7 quicklinks, 213 comments, 1 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

Preventing the unlimited accumulation of private wealth and reducing the existing fortunes of the world's billionaires is not an ideological viewpoint, nor is it purely a distributive justice issue. It is primarily a sociological problem to be solved. The concentration of such unlimited power in the hands of so few people is a threat to society and the general welfare of human populations everywhere.

Submitted on Saturday, Oct 19, 2019 at 3:19:22 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (1+)
Help
Indent

nelswight

Become a Fan
Author 2581
(Member since Sep 3, 2006), 2 fans, 681 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to Brian Lynch:   New Content

Hey, Buddy, assassination might be a great short-term solution but I believe, as do you, that sociological effort possibly could work in the longer term.

Where to start?

Submitted on Saturday, Oct 19, 2019 at 3:59:25 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (1+)
Help
IndentIndent

Brian Lynch

Become a Fan
Author 2220
Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Jul 28, 2006), 12 fans, 75 articles, 7 quicklinks, 213 comments, 1 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to nelswight:   New Content

A global wealth-tax is one potential starting point although it isn't perfect or easy to establish. https://tinyurl.com/yxmskmub

The point is that we need to get off of the divisive political talking points currently clouding this urgent issue today and turn the conversation instead to a more informative and productive dialog before it is too late.

Submitted on Saturday, Oct 19, 2019 at 5:08:26 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (1+)
Help
IndentIndentIndent

Alexander Kershaw

Become a Fan
Author 500827
(Member since Nov 25, 2014), 3 fans, 396 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to Brian Lynch:   New Content

An easier, quicker and more effective way of reducing the gap between the super wealthy and the 99% would be an across the board debt forgiveness. Of course that idea got the Gracci brothers, Julius Ceasar, Jesus and others assassinated but it still could be done. Michael Hudson addresses that purposely hidden history in "and forgive them their debts"

Then return to the plan of Henry George. Tax land regardless of who or what is the owner. True wealth lies in land, labor and resources. The .00001% can make almost infinite amounts of money from their privately held banks. Witness the 2008 bailout using the privately held and undemocratic Federal Reserve. Land cannot be transferred electronically. The human owner may be hidden but the land itself is always just sitting there. If the owners want to avoid the tax, fine the land is returned to the commonwealth.

The link provided was a critique of Piketty's proposal of a global wealth tax. Which as the article said can create problems if fungible sources of wealth are taxed. Land is not fingible and along with other non fungible things like labor and physical resources and infrastructure and buildings cannot be moved at the speed of an electron to a tax haven.

I do not care who owns the Sears tower. If the taxes are not paid it belongs to the citizens of Chicago. Simple.

Submitted on Saturday, Oct 19, 2019 at 10:48:39 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
IndentIndentIndentIndent

b. sadie bailey

Become a Fan
Author 56818
(Member since Dec 5, 2010), 13 fans, 5 articles, 24 quicklinks, 1158 comments, 4 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to Alexander Kershaw:   New Content

i disagree with taxing land without considering incomes of who is holding it. There are still lands being held by families who are ONLY land-rich and wouldn't have the money to keep their land by paying exhorbitant taxes. Should they be kicked off for not being able to pay like billionaires can? A fairer thing would be to prohibit speculative land amassing and selling for profit. The real estate "industry" is one of the biggest thievery scams going.

How about we return all lands to descendents and currently living aboriginals we massacred and from whom we European descendents stole their lands? Give them the sovereignty to steward the land and we follow their lead - but they should have the lands; they are more deserving. They have survived the coming and going of so-called "civilization." How about we give them all lands owned by speculative profiteers? That would be a start to redistribution and Truth and Reconciliation.

But of course this doesn't solve the billionaire problem. I ageee with 911Truth that one is too many.

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 20, 2019 at 2:47:45 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help

911TRUTH

Become a Fan
Author 15356
(Member since Apr 29, 2008), 27 fans, 2766 comments
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

I would say one is too many.

Submitted on Saturday, Oct 19, 2019 at 5:07:02 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help

Brian Lynch

Become a Fan
Author 2220
Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Jul 28, 2006), 12 fans, 75 articles, 7 quicklinks, 213 comments, 1 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

Note: There are about 2,000 billionaires around the world today. If you want a good understanding of how they are screwing up society for the rest of us, watch "The Laundromat" on Netflix. yurl.com/y464u79p

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019 at 12:59:19 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment