By Joel S. Hirschhorn
January 29, 2014
There are times when hatred is a needed, logical and moral stance to take. Evil, injustice and corruption, are fine examples of what to appropriately hate. For the overwhelming majority of people it is now rational to hate the super rich, notably the thousands of billionaires holding most of the world’s wealth and wielding power over political and economic systems. They have been successfully raping the global economy and while doing that have kept increasing their wealth as well as economic inequality afflicting ordinary people.
Before discussing some basic reasons to hate the super rich, consider some facts about them.
How many billionaires are there? According to the inaugural Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2013, the global billionaire population reached a record 2,170 individuals in 2013, with a combined net worth of $6.5 trillion. What happened after the most recent global economic meltdown? Some 810 individuals became billionaires since the 2009 global financial crisis. In other words, plain millionaires moved up to billionaire status.
But the super rich include many more than the billionaires, because the top one percent on the economic scale have monster-size wealth, according to a new report Working for the Few. The one percent of the richest people in the world have $110 trillion. That equates to some 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population. But among the millions of the top one percent, the richest 85 people, true billionaires, have wealth equal to the bottom half of the world’s population. As to the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer. That leaves 9 percent, about 30 million Americans, in the upper class that did very well as they strive to make it into the top one percent.
When people talk about economic, wealth or income inequality they are really talking about the incredibly small fraction of the richest people relative to the larger population that still are not sharing in the global jackpot, no matter how hard they work. Inequality means that money is not being fairly distributed. There have been times in history when prosperity was shared, as in the several decades after World War II.
No surprise that only 7 percent of Americans, according to a Gallup report, currently feel “very satisfied” with our nation’s distribution of income and wealth. Similarly, a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 81 percent of Americans believe the economy is working very or fairly well for the wealthy, compared to 22 percent for the middle class.
Why hate the super rich and the rising economic inequality that benefits them?
This distorted economic system means that democracy is more delusional than real. Consider this: Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we cannot have both.” Truly wise words.
The near total lack of public confidence in Congress, both major political parties and the whole political system by Americans goes hand-in-hand with the perverted economic system. You have every right to hate the super rich because for a long time in many visible, and invisible ways, they have intentionally manipulated the political system to create and maintain the unjust economic system. Their economic power gives them political power. Rather than one person one vote, think in terms of one dollar one vote.
Hate the super rich because their degree of wealth and power is obscene.
Hate the super rich because they persecute the vast majority of people worldwide. Some of the super rich play up their charitable activities, but that does not negate all the evil consequences of economic inequality for billions of people.
Hate the super rich because their greed is ungodly. If true democracy is to be restored, then Americans need to be much more than dissatisfied. They need to get more emotional. They need to hate. Then they must convert that hatred into political demands and actions.
Joel S. Hirschhorn is a full-time writer/activist promoting reforms in American democracy; author of Delusional Democracy – Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. He is a former senior staffer for the U.S. Congress and the National Governors Association. And before that, he was a full professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is also a co-founder of Friends of the Article V Convention.