The Good Billionaire

in Deep Dives10 months ago (edited)

Why are so many people unhappy in the richest country the world has ever seen? Why are the peoples of many countries that aren't as rich often happier? We know the answer to those questions; poverty is relative. That means we measure our own wealth against the wealth of those within our own society, our own country; it's the gap between the rich and poor in our own society that determines if we feel poor or not.

source: YouTube

Yes, absolute poverty exists as there is an income level below which we simply can not survive, or live a decent life. But the feeling of being poor, the emotions related to that relative poverty - like envy and anger towards "the rich" - are rooted in the ever growing gap between a society's richest and poorest. That's why people are much less unhappy in countries with a much more egalitarian income and wealth distribution, like in the social democracies of the Scandinavian countries. In America however, the three richest men own as much wealth as the bottom 160 million citizens. That country has the best of all worlds; it's so big that it contains within its borders almost every natural resource needed to make everything needed for comfortable lifes, and it's isolated enough to not have to fear an invasion. Otto von Bismarck once said: "The Americans are a very lucky people. They're bordered to the north and south by weak neighbors, and to the east and west by fish."

I would disagree with Bismarck because "luck" has nothing to do with it; Europeans, mainly the English and Dutch, have invaded the continent, all but exterminated its indigenous people and imported slaves to lay the base for its relative wealth in the world, on top of being the only rich western country to not have to rebuild after the two World Wars. America even "helped" western Europe rebuild after the Second World War with the Marshall Plan, which was actually a clever scheme of giant loans under the conditions that the money was used exclusively to buy American products, further boosting America's own economic growth. This sort of self-serving conditions still exist today in international "aide" given through institutions like the World Bank and the IMF; there is no true charity in the for profit capitalist economy.

And that's where the "good billionaire" enters today's story. In the many discussions about whether billionaires should even exist, and about the wealth inequality that's reached levels never before seen in all of human history, not even in the times of the pharaohs, progressive's arguments against the existence of billionaires are crushed by the existence, or even the possibility of the existence of the "good billionaire". That is a billionaire who gives huge amounts of money to charities and even advocates for higher taxation of his class. If such billionaires exist or can exist, it can always be argued that capitalism isn't all bad. This is why, in my humble opinion, the only argument against the existence of billionaires, and the consequent immeasurable gap between rich and poor, is the socialist argument rooted in the labor theory of value; no one person can create billions worth of wealth, and all wealth, all value is created through the labor necessary to convert raw materials into usable products. Marx's critique of capitalism is quite brilliant and many more people should acquaint themselves with it. To get you started, here's a short video explaining the socialist argument against billionaires, even the good ones:

The Socialist Case Against Billionaires

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When capitalism has been usurped by the elites and designed to facilitate them while turns a blind eye to cruelty in the name of profit, it is no wonder that we turn to any alternative we can find. Socialism has become the grasp for ABC anything but capitalism. Fortunately it appears to be working in small Scandinavian countries, so may well be a better of the two evils. Yet any system is as strong as its weakest people implementing the system. Any system can be corrupted and hijacked by ruthless minded people, even socialism. It is thus the heart and consciousness of every person that need to be improved, not the system of wealth distribution alone.

What a beautiful response @julianhorack, thanks so much :-)

When capitalism has been usurped by the elites and designed to facilitate them...

One small correction I would make is this: capitalism was designed from the ground up, from day 1, to facilitate the capitalist class, so there's never been a need to usurp it. The oligarchy is baked-in.

Why are the peoples of many countries that aren't as rich often happier?

I think the answer to this is that many people from the collective society get their happiness mainly from relationships and being part of communities. Most of the poor, if not all, tend to have lower IQ and seem to derive happiness from having too many children. Machismo still exists in traditional societies. While those from individualist or modern societies get their happiness from achievement, security, wealth, etc. And because they have higher IQ, they become more self-absorbed too. This is also one reason people from these countries, having almost what they need (privilege, structural advantage, comfort and security) tend to have high cases of depression. The wiser you get, the lonelier you become. We can't do it alone.

One of my favorite quotes of all time,

Behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Honore de Balzac

So maybe, a good billionaire exists but at what cost?

Inconvenient truth .😊

It depends on which culture or on what kind of knowledge you have when it comes to being happy or depressed with your wealth or poverty. In enlightened cultures a wise person would have such deep insight that they needed no luxuries, renounced their wealth even because they had a potent capacity for consciousness and depth of realization into the nature of life and reality. Such a person can access bliss, without the dependency on material luxuries or even the need for a social community for comfort. That is a rare level of consciousness of course, but ultimately bliss is internal. And depth of realization allows one to access bliss without the need for people or money. The need to collect more money or people to feel happy is due to lack of real knowledge as well as deliberate poor training by our elite who want to keep us as ignorant slaves to consumerism.

Thank you @diabolika for another great response :-) I agree with your analysis of the problem, that is if you agree that the lower IQ among the poor is a result of their socioeconomic circumstances. And I would say that the solution can be found in changing those circumstances, by working towards a system that produces more equity, a more level playing field, you know, "equality of opportunity" and all that. Such a system would, within the capitalist framework, always amount to income redistribution from top to bottom, from taxing the living daylights out of the billionaire class and capitalists. Billionaires shouldn't exist, is the inconvenient truth in my opinion ;-)

that is if you agree that the lower IQ among the poor is a result of their socioeconomic circumstances.

I agree of course. And I feel like they are made to stay at the bottom by the stronger forces.