Here is one aspect of what Rob Kall of opednews calls “applying nature’s rules to macro-economics.” Seems obvious.
More money is never enough. “Money does not grow on trees.” Fruit and nuts do. Nature harbors the real wealth, and she has been present all along, watchful and waiting, pulling us down and lifting us up, her ebb and flow synchronizing tides and heart beats and lung breaths and bird song, birth and death, growth and decay, sunrise and set, coyotes and wolves and tornadoes and hurricanes and fires and floods and earthquakes all howling remember, remember, remember your Home.
When people grow past seven and a half feet, they live very short lives. Almost all of the largest creatures that have walked the earth are extinct. Whales are threatened too, though totally because of humans. Nature doesn’t approve of really big. Matter of fact, it kills or severely handicaps biological anomalies and freaks that become really big. I’m suggesting that we do such a “natural” thing with billionaires– eliminate their existence and prevent them from developing.
Billionaires are too big. The power they command through their wealth is too dangerous to be allowed in the control of any flawed human. The economic influence they wield produces warps in the capitalist space-time-economic dimension that prevent capitalism from operating in a free, natural state, as strange attractors change the dynamics in chaotic systems.
We have seen the effects of billionaires like the Koches, Waltons, Mellons, Scaife and Soros on American politics. They spend hundreds of millions influencing the political process. They are not alone. They do this along with transnational corporations that the Supreme Court has traitorously and perversely given rights of corporate personhood.
Both Billionaires and the largest corporations must be eliminated, boycotted, civil resistanced and legislated out of existence.
This is a daunting but not insurmountable task. Of course the 400 plus billionaires in the US will fight this tooth and claw. Forbes reports that there a bit over 1000 billionaires world wide, less than 10 percent of them women. We can be certain that most of the 1000 have interests and investments in the US, so we’ll see most of them fighting any of the efforts I’m advocating. They’ll do it using fake bottom up grassroots front groups, PR charm offensives, and all the tools that the biggest corporations have used to block legislation that helps the middle class by reining in the most powerful– people and corporations.
Some will argue that free enterprise needs the hope and possibility that a person can become a billionaire for people to work hard and innovate. I don’t believe that it is necessary.
Think of blood tests. There are healthy ranges for results. Take blood sugar, for example– too high and you have diabetes, too low and you have low blood sugar and could pass out. Salt, triglycerides, BUN, you name it, there’s a healthy range. Why not apply the same idea to wealth. Too much is unhealthy — maybe not for the possessor, but for society.
When someone’s wealth reaches, say, $100 million he or she should get a warning that his wealth is starting to approach the legally allowed upper limits. At $250 million, the tax on assets, not just income, should start to escalate, so it is impossible to possess more than, say $500 million. I said tax, but instead of the money going to government, the billionaire could also be required to put into place a plan to get rid of the money– through charity– contributions to non-profit organizations (yes, this will massively help NGOs) that are not political or economically motivated, or by sharing of equity with workers, preferably a combination of both. I’m sure other ways could also be added.
We need leaders and lone innovators and we always will, but there is no reason to assume that they need to have the possibility of possessing BILLIONS for them to be motivated to work hard and creatively. One might even consider that those who work strictly to make more and more money may not have the best motives.
The richest man in the world this year, according to the Forbes billionaire report, Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu, probably passed Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, the previous top billionaires, because they’ve given billions to charity foundations. Gates and Buffet are moving in the right direction but they haven’t gone nearly far enough. I can’t imagine any of the billionaires, with an average of $3.5 billion each, being willing to give up the power associated with their wealth.
This “de-billionairization” of the planet would necessarily have to be done in steps. An easier first step might be to begin with inheritances. Make it a law that no person can be bequeathed or assets worth more than half a billion dollars, or, over the course of a lifetime, be gifted or bequeathed more than that amount, in total. Make it a law that corporations may not issue stocks or modify stock ownership structuring so anyone owns more than $500 million in sellable shares. That may mean creating a new category of stock ownership so founders and principal shareholders can maintain control of a company without having shares that can be sold. Or maybe the answer is to no longer allow a company that gets that big to exist, or to have so much of a percentage controlled by one person.
There are all kinds of too big to fail. And perhaps we should also be talking about too big to be allowed to exist, let alone fail.
I can imagine some critics attacking this idea as communist or socialist. I don’t think so.
Capitalists like Friedman and Hayek promote the idea of the free market. But billionaires exert greater influences on the market, or at least influences comparable to those produced by unions and government regulations.
I’ve written before about the idea of applying nature’s rules to macro-economics, discussing a need for a smarter approach to globalization: Membrane Economic Globalization.
Pat Buchanan wrote,
“The U.S. trade deficit is the greatest foreign aid and wealth transfer in program in history, and our workers are paying for it by the loss to their families of the American Dream.”
I propose that allowing billionaires to exist, with their propensity to invest overseas, to invest in gold and commodities and real estate, actually is an equally devastating transfer of national resources away from applications that create jobs. Buchanan suggested in his 2004 article that a billion in exports created 20,000 jobs. I propose that a billion in a billionaire’s portfolio costs the nation 20,000 jobs, though it may create jobs overseas.
This idea of eliminating billionaires would start in the US, or perhaps, once the meme is in the air, it would start in more liberal democracies, like those in Europe. But one way to enforce it on other billionaires, outside the US would be to not allow them to enter the US. Consider them dangerous people, threats to our democracy, our economy. They really already are.
flickr image By Steve Rhodes