A world where billionaires exist next to starving children is the grotesque consequence of a society gone wrong, a society that promotes greed over compassion, and wealth over humanity.
Long ago, we were told that the middle class is what made the West so great. I’ve got some bad news: The middle class is dead. And nobody was kind enough to write the obituary. Here’s my attempt.
A Tale of Three Class Rooms
Follow me on a short thought experiment, into a land with three rooms.
Room #1 is massive; 1,000,000 people live here.
Room #2 is slightly smaller than the first. Only 1,000 people live here, so each person has much more room.
Lastly, there’s Room #3, which only has one inhabitant. The man who lives there (let’s call him Bill) has the most amount of room of all.
One day, a briefcase lands in each room and determines the wealth of the inhabitants. Each briefcase contains $1,000,000,0000 (one billions dollars) worth of wealth.
Overnight, Bill becomes a BILLIONAIRE. (Like most people who call themselves billionaires, Bill didn’t earn it as he had the luck of being born in Room #3.)
Next, we have Room #2. Each person now has $1,000,000 (one million dollars) and become MILLIONAIRES.
Lastly, we have the people who make everything in society–the WORKERS. They each get $1,000 (one thousand dollars) of wealth.
This unfortunate tale, sadly, is the world we currently live in. There is no more Upper / Middle / Lower classes. There is only the Billionaire / Millionaire / Worker classes.
WORKERS create all of the wealth is this system but only enjoy the bare minimum, the crumbs. The are our plumbers, teachers, assembly line workers, farmers, taxi drivers, and anyone else that makes products and provides services.
The exploitation they experience – the wealth that is taken from them and not shared – is due to the class of ENABLERS who live in between them and the richest people on top. The Millionaire class has become the ENABLERS of this system. They’re politicians, lobbyists, celebrities, landlords, and everyone else who either makes the system, profits from the system, or distracts workers from the reality of the system.
This is our current reality:
- THE BILLIONAIRES, who sit on top of their wealth like dragons.
- THE ENABLERS, who control a system that creates billionaires and rewards them with millions.
- THE WORKERS, who live their lives in debt and work paycheck to paycheck to create wealth for those above.
This is the land called CAPITALISM.
But this land used to have another name. Before, it was a land called FUEDALISM.
Not so long ago, right before the Industrial Revolution, when most people were farmers, we had a similar grouping of people. There was a KING, who hoarded the wealth of his land; ARISTOCRATS, who protected the king and subjugated the people; and PEASANTS, who worked the land.
After much work, many lands (not all) were able to replace their kings with democratic systems where rule of law was made equal to all. Unfortunately, wealth has remained in the hands of the powerful. But hopefully not for long.
Reality is Worse Than Fiction
This thought experiment–with silly briefcases and impossible rooms–while not prefect is a pretty fair representative of the reality of the so-called “developed” Western world.
Take, for example, the G7. Seven highly industrialized, democratic nations that rebuilt their societies over the past 75 years, following World War II. Together they have a population just over 750 million. These seven countries have over 900 billionaires, according to Forbes, or about one billionaires per 825,000 people.
Unlike my thought experiment, the world’s billionaires average over $4,000,000,000 in wealth.
In between these two groups are the enablers who run government, business and the media, and tell us that they system is working great. “Have you seen that the stock market is up today!?!”
What can we (the workers of the world) do about it?
The first thing we must realise is that the REALITY of WEALTH INEQUALITY is much worse than what we think it is, as this video below illustrates. And what we THINK it is, is still not close to what the vast majority of people WANT.
We can either do nothing. Or we can do something.
We can act to make a better future. Often on TV, an enabler of the current system will say that the Left wants to go out and steal your money (through taxes). That socialists want to steal every dollar from those hard working billionaires. But that’s not true.
What I’m advocating is for a new system. We forget about the past, and all those briefcases of cash that wrongly when to the people at the top.
Imagine tomorrow, three new briefcases arrive. Should the wealth be split the same way as the past: creating one or two billionaires, an thousand millionaires, and millions of people with almost nothing? Or should we tear down the walls that divide these rooms, and split the wealth more equally and, more importantly, more democratically?
What if everyone got $3,000?
Every worker would have three times as much wealth, overnight.
But we would lose our one billionaires. (How sad?) Bill could still work and enjoy society but he won’t have a room (i.e. tax haven) filled with gold, sports cars, and yachts, unfortunately.
And what of the Enablers? We would lose them too. For everyone one thousand people, we would lose one enabler. Like the ex-billionaire, each ex-enabler can still work (except lobbyists and propagandists, who would need to find new jobs) and enjoy the society they supposedly love. They should welcome the peace and (shared) prosperity that this new world provides.
Or, we could do nothing.
Tomorrow, more briefcases arrive. And the enablers decide where they go, replicating the Inequality of the past.
We need to decide if we want the ENABLERS to keep hoarding OUR wealth, or if we’ll continue to let them sit on it while we suffer.
Inequality was made worse in 2020, thanks to COVID-19. During this year of pandemic, the Billionaire class has seen their wealth rise by more than $10,000,000,000,000 (ten trillion dollars), while tens of millions of workers are now unemployed and we’ll soon record more than 2,000,000 deaths worldwide from COVID-19.
However, even before COVID, the Enabler class was making things worse. Rather than creating societies where health systems are funded adequately, political enablers have passed tax cuts for the rich. These Enablers and their Billionaire donors have created a system where corporate profits are up, but taxes are down. Tax cuts for the rich don’t help workers. And underfunding health care doesn’t allow pandemics to be overcome.
Additionally, I think this thought experiment for wealth inequality holds try for the Global South as well as for wealthy nations. Low-income countries might not have many billionaires, but they definitely have many multi-millionaires, who live lives of luxury. And those multi-millionaires are enabled by the same people in government, business and media, who live next to people in extreme poverty. Millions of people around the world live in extreme poverty, with barely enough to feed themselves.
The scale might be different between high- and low-income countries, but the inequality is just as bad. Enablers living lives a thousand times better than people at the bottom, and enabling people at the top to have lives a thousand time better then themselves.
We need to end this system. Today.
No more billionaires. No more enablers of poverty.