At what point do we begin to see ultra rich people not a symbol of success but as a societal failure?
A billion is a very hard number to get our heads around.
If the measure was seconds, a million seconds would happen in around 11 days.
A billion seconds – a single billion seconds – would take 31.7 years.
To accumulate this much in money must surely be looked at as obscene? It doesn’t mean smarter than or better than. Behind this type of wealth is exploitation, extraction, colonisation. Minimal tax payment, legal codes that enable unbelievable finagling of rules. (See the remarkable book The Code of Capital by Katharina Pistor where this is laid out.)
For someone to think accumulating billions is success denies that behind this type of accumulation is a sadistic form of cruelty. Underpaying people, exploiting communities and neighbourhoods, denying achievements of the many who made this possible, raping the land, destroying futures.
Philanthropy from a billionaire might look good on paper, yet is often a shame tax. Anand Giridharadas exposed this in his book, Winners Take All.
When nature gets out of balance and a locus plague happens, where all is consumed in the rush, everyone suffers. Even, in the end, the locus.
Will we grow up as humanity and truly desire to increase the wellbeing of Earth and all her creatures? Where there is enough to go around?
Photo taken November 5th 2021