Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Do the rich live at the expense of others?

Did my relative financial security and my own brand of Internet fame get “made at others’ expense”?  If so, my karma is in real trouble, and I will hear about it when I pass.
Harold Meyerson has an op-ed on the subject on p A21 of the Washington Post, Wednesday, January 29, 2014, here.  Meyerson talks about the “top 1%” (or maybe more like top 0.1%) as having made it by financial manipulation (like creating derivative securities for hedge funds on Wall Street) rather than by creating things that make peoples’ lives better.

So Steve Jobs (and perhaps Bill Gates) got rich in a legitimate way, as perhaps Elon Musk does.  Mark Zuckerberg would be interesting (laying aside his dispute with the Winklevii) because some would argue that social media profits from cyberbullying, various kinds of exploitations, and cheesy advertising. Some would say that about me – my own visibility comes from a permissive environment that others will abuse and claim victims.

I’ve heard railing about “rich people” all my adult life. I’ve see people looking for great equalizers, like a return to conscription or mandatory national service.  In the Army barracks in 1969 at Ft. Eustis, we whimsically called the razor blade the great equalizer.  Get those queens off the chess board quickly (oh, that doesn’t always work).    
Picture: I used to call this kind of snow a "light dinger".  

Update: Jan 30

See the essay by Thomas B. Edsall in the New York Times Jan. 29, "Capitalism vs. Democracy", about a book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" ny Thomas Piketty, in which the idea of an accumulated wealth tax is examined.  There is again this idea of bad karam, that people shouldn't benefit from the unseen labor of others, link to op-ed here

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