This is the best and most important piece you have written. Hoarded wealth needs to be redistributed. What boggles my mind is how a billionaire can retain all that money and know that he could have saved thousands of lives, fed thousands of kids and homeless people. Funded scholarships, supported clean water efforts...the list is huge...and not do it. And still be able to sleep at night. How?

We need a bloodless revolution.

Expand full comment

Certain parts of our society should not be privatized or profit generating and should be protected by strong laws: voting; education; residential housing including rentals; healthcare; utilities; water; essential food (not sure how that one would work); policing and prisons; news reporting (separated from entertainment and PR Depts). Also only a small part of 401K funds should be speculative. There may be more I can’t think of at present. Taking life essentials out of the speculative markets would reduce the flow of $ into personal pockets. It would also take those things back from corporate power and restore legislative powers to the government. Right now the corporations are writing the laws through lobbyists--the legislators just think they are legislating--in fact legislators are unwittingly (stupidly) protecting corporations over people. The Citizens United decision proves this is how things are currently working (in my opinion). If certain life essentials were taken out of the speculative markets and became the responsibility of legislators (elected) I think we would see less treasure going to individuals. I am amazed even so called progressive legislators do not see they are currently useless. There may be a couple of them (not sure) who understand this. Does the 90% need to crash and burn before people wake up? Could individual states start moving in this direction one state at a time? Bottom line is too much has been connected to the speculative markets which are helping individuals vacuum up/suck up $ leaving 90% with debt (credit cards and loans) to make ends meet. That’s my take: get life essentials out of the speculative markets.

Expand full comment

Thanks for an interesting read Pen.

I tend to think that billionaires are going to exist regardless of attempts to topple them.

My belief is that at a certain point in their lives, maybe at an age level, maybe at the point of accrual of some specific sum, they should be given an opportunity to begin working on mechanisms to give their money away. Andrew Carnegie gave away 90% of his wealth in his lifetime (about $5 billion in today’s terms) but died before he could finish.

Should the billionaire agree, then there should be oversight to make sure he is following through.

Should he disagree, then whatever mechanisms of the law that exist or could be created to redistribute his wealth should take place.

I cannot imagine any sort of scheme that involves the threat of depriving him of his liberty for the act of being a billionaire. Money, already hidden today on a grand scale, would disappear even more instantly. Nobody would ever admit to being a billionaire and the resources it would take to prosecute and prove the opposite would be staggering. I’d much prefer quasi-voluntary redistribution to an outright attack. There could well follow social chaos, especially in madly-capitalistic countries like America.

Expand full comment