Millions of people out there still live under this spell that billionaires made their fortunes by being smart with their money. They crank out endless articles and podcasts promising to teach us “how billionaires think,” or “what you can learn from a billionaire.” Ignoring these articles isn’t good enough. We need to continually point out the huge damage our praise of billionaires is doing to our economy, and our society.
Great article I loved it. You bring some valid points that should have to be considered but I do want to add some things if you don't mind. I think the bigger picture you try to convey here is the discussion between socialism and capitalism. You mention that if you give money back to the bottom half of people by taxing the wealthy people much more then people's lives will ultimately improve. The question is how sustainable is that strategy? In the short term, the answer is undoubted yes. People's lives would improve very much. But in the long run, I'm not so sure about that. So let me elaborate on that a bit. But first, I do want to acknowledge that there's a big problem with the wealth inequality across the world and that there should be policies in place that transfer a bit more money from the "haves" to the "have not's". But that is not to say taxing the shit out of the wealthy and giving everybody a fair share of the pie. I think you can make a fair argument that what made our lives so drastically better today compared to a couple of decades ago can be brought back to the way our Western system works. Capitalism has been one of the biggest driving forces that made many lives much better. Also, It seems to be a general observation in nature that whenever you have productive system overtime you get inequality. Like, say in Monopoly, where everybody starts out equal but in the end, only 1 person gets to ends up with almost all the money and the others end up near zero, and because it's mostly a random game that is being played, it's not determined by skill. Which is analogous to many systems in nature. You can also point to other systems like in the fields of research, workflow, or cities,...This is what is called the Pareto rule or 20/80 rule. No matter how you turn it if you have a hierarchical structure eventually inequality arises from that. Now, you could say "why not get rid of the whole system then and give back an equal amount to every person in the system?" The problem is not everybody is equal. Not everybody has the same talents, skills, dreams, hopes,... And it's the combinations and luck that get you at the top. Those top 20% are the most productive, and had a good portion of luck on their site but also because they are competent in what they do. Those people drive the most innovation and they get rewarded for it. which in turn improves the lives of many people in that system. You could say that all those people at the top are only there because of some power manipulation but that's also not very true because that's not how society works. People don't get a job because of the power they have over other people, maybe on some occasions. But then again, that won't last very long. They get those jobs because of the value they bring, which is determined by multiple factors but one of the biggest ones is competence. The ability to do a job efficiently and effectively no matter how complex. I'm not saying our current system is perfect. It certainly has its problems. But pointing the finger at one group isn't the answer. The economy like every other system in nature is complex and dependents on multiple variables. You may not call it equal but calling it unfair might not be right. I think that if you have to choose a system in place that improves everybody's lives across the board that capitalism generally speaking is better compared to Socialism. Again I'm not saying that the little guy doesn't matter. It's true that society couldn't function without teachers and drivers working those long hours. But it is evidently also true that the most competent people also come up with the best ideas and drive innovation. And in turn, they get rewarded for it. You can hate those successful people all you want, and to be fair, they need to pay more, whatever that is, but they also bring a lot of good. Most people also forget that those people also pay the highest taxes.