Many today have a disdain towards the billionaire class of today. Much of it is warranted, little is likely to change. Altruism is not a trait they admire or desire.
Sometimes I read or watch something and it rubs me the wrong way. Does that ever happen to you? You know the idea is amiss but you are unsure of the error. I do. And sometimes it takes me a long time to unravel the spool to get to the center and then, voila, the problem my mind has been struggling with spits out or calculates an answer. In many ways, each one of my blogs is just that. An answer or solution to a question my brain was struggling with.
If you read my blog, it is clear that I define a few things differently than others whether it is politics, religion or such. On big picture items, I tend not to flow with a crowd no matter which destination it is headed. Hence, On? – A Third View is a book I wrote of ideas that explore the road not traveled. The one yet to be paved. Not all the time but certainly sometimes for sure.
The question that sparked this blog is simple – Should billionaires exist? On many levels, it’s an easy question. Yes or no is the begged answer. But in reality, that’s like asking should the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China, the National Monument of DC, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Mecca in Saudi Arabia or Wall Streets of the world exist? All of these places pay homage to humanity’s desire to be remembered as great. The last one defines it in the modern era. Cash in hand.
Throughout history man has amassed fortunes. The Pyramids are a great example. Pharoahs building their burial sites in which they could take along with them their loved ones, slaves and fortunes. Some see it as evil or bad. Others see it as the road to divinity. Neither can be proven. Why? Because we cannot, no matter how hard we believe, prove God exists until we are dead. Then the question is answered.
Our best guess is that God exists and that there is a path that gets us to God. That path is simple. It is to view life as a gift, the body as a temple and to do more good than harm on the way down the bumpy road of life which defines that balance in nebulous terms. What does it mean to do good?
Which leads us to man’s construct of the Golden Rule or altruism as the highest form of good for those who see the Pyramids or like places as evil or harmful. But again, it begs the God question and how you define your relationship with God.
Now, someone who is not an altruist, lives life through the lens of the ego, meaning that their goal is to accept the gift of life, find their natural or gifted skill set and apply it as best they can on the way down the bumpy road of life. Their success is measured by how they define themselves. A composer like Mozart in his music. A boxer like Ali in the ring. A rapper like Eminem in his music. An entrepreneur like Jobs in Apple. A futurist like Musk in the race to colonize Mars. They have found their gifts and have or are using those gifts to the best of their ability.
But the argument still stands, should billionaires exist? If we look through the lens of good and altruism, no, they should not. They should spend their money to help others less fortunate than them. This is where my brain keeps skipping instead of moving on. I am not sure because I have uncovered a third path.
Let’s assume most billionaires have succeeded on the backs of others as slave masters, and if we assume this, then billionaires are evil or criminal. They are, or some of them are, the modern day dons or mafia bosses of the world. They are thugs and we all know the basic premise of thuggery. It is simple. Get on top and stay there at all costs.
At no time in history has a crime boss wavered to help those below him or her. It is not in their nature or in the nature of the crime world. It is a top down system. Period. You are either at the top, an asset or sentry of the top or a threat. Anyone preaching that billionaires should not exist land clearly in the third category.
And we all know this. We have all been raised to idolize the crime boss or don. The Godfather, the Sopranos, Grand Theft Auto and Mafia Boss are all examples. It’s a kill or be killed world. The criminal world is not about altruism or helping others unless it will generate more wealth or more power for the boss. If you can, prove me wrong. I want to be.
So here we are in a time in which there is a class with enough tangible wealth to solve world problems but at least a few of them are criminals and modern day dons and those who are not, are forced to do business with those that are like an uncorrupt city official having to pay the mafia for trash pick-up. The city officials hands are tied if he or she wants their career to continue. Voters on voting day will not forget the smell or the rats. It’s not in their nature.
And remember, the egoists, the billionaires like the Bezos of the world, define their success on their ability to achieve greatness in their prospective field much like the uncorrupt city officials if they are not crime bosses. Part of their success is the ability to do business that is profitable with those who are corrupt and they know this and accept it as a bump on their road.
It means that the uncorrupt billionaires know and are aware that around them lurk sharks looking to feed off of them. A few weeks ago David Beasley of the United Nations proved as much. He tweeted that 6 billion dollars would end world hunger. Elon Musk responded. Show me the plan. Beasley’s next response was that 6 billion dollars would do a lot to help end world hunger. Clearly not the same message.
Many problems exist then simultaneously. One, some billionaires are criminals. They live by the criminal code of acquiring wealth and keeping it. They are living true to form. Then there are the egoists, those that define their lives and their relationship to God by uncovering their gift and using it to better the world. The wheel. The automobile. The laptop. They do not define success at its highest in helping others. Those are the two billionaire groups easiest to see; the crime boss and the egoist.
The third is the one that I see. They are the uncorrupted egoist billionaires forced to do business with the corrupt and know that below them, the corrupt exist. They in fact want to help, but cannot. There exists no channel by which to get the job done. To do what needs to be done other than by indirectly handing over their wealth to corruptible others.
This is fact and proven. Much of the monies donated to NGO and non-profits are used for operating costs. UN workers driving Mercedes and being given the latest Apple phone and laptop. We and therefore they know this to be true making it impossible to use the dollar or tangible wealth to solve many of the world’s problems. They may be willing to help but there exists no road.
Billionaires or the elite or the wealthy may be a problem but they are not the primary problem of those in need. The primary problem of those in need is the inability to organize and plan to shift who holds the power and wealth. Without a united bottom, the top remains the same just like in the movies.