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marmar

(77,421 posts)
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 10:38 AM Feb 2016

Do We Need a Billionaire Class?


from Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality:


Do We Need a Billionaire Class?
February 21, 2016


With worker-owned co-ops and other forms of democratic enterprise, veteran analyst Gar Alperovitz is helping America see, we can create wealth without creating a super wealthy.

In the struggle against economic inequality, historian and political economist Gar Alperovitz tends to take the long view. That may be at least partly because Alperovitz has been at that struggle for quite a long time.

In the 1960s, for instance, Alperovitz worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his aides to explore the potential of an alternate economic order built upon community-owned enterprise.

Alperovitz has always had a foot in both the activist camp of what could be and the political reality of what we can accomplish right now. His many books have linked those two camps — and punctured the pretenses of those who defend America’s astoundingly unequal distribution of income and wealth.

.....(snip).....

Too Much: We’ve become so unequal, you’ve also noted, that we’ll never become significantly more equal unless we have a fundamental shift in who controls capital, in who owns wealth. A shift to what?

Alperovitz: Wealth brings power, political power, institutional power. Wealth on its own gives people the capacity, as a friend of mine likes to say, to “rent” politicians and control the political process. Wealth gives the wealthy access — access to political levers that alter the way the economy works.

In all the advanced countries, labor organizations used to provide a counterbalance to this wealth. On the shop floor and in the political system, unions directly challenged capital on wages and the distribution of income.

But in the United States we’ve always had a much weaker labor movement than most other advanced capitalist nations, and today our labor counterweight is disappearing. Increasingly, we have no institutional counter to the political power of capital.

Many activists today think that building a movement will solve this problem. We obviously need a movement. But at the heart of the movement that helped make America more equal in the middle of the 20th century, we also had an institution, labor unions.

Unless you can build both institutions and a political movement, you won’t have the power and wherewithal to really challenge capital. ..............(more)

- See more at: http://toomuchonline.org/do-we-really-need-a-billionaire-class/#sthash.UL8NpuoR.dpuf




71 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Do We Need a Billionaire Class? (Original Post) marmar Feb 2016 OP
I am a capitalist, some people are more industrious than others. Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #1
"some people are more industrious than others" marmar Feb 2016 #3
No, some rises before dawn, works well into the night and repeats the next day. Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #5
and some are willing to literally do anything for money tk2kewl Feb 2016 #7
How does making money bad? Money is the root of some campaigning Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #13
it is not bad by definition tk2kewl Feb 2016 #16
Have you ever heard of FDR, WJC, and Bill Gates? Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #20
are you always so condescending? tk2kewl Feb 2016 #21
Goodbye, I have not been condescending and do not wish to continue a conversation accusing Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #27
Yes, that one is ALWAYS that condescending. hifiguy Feb 2016 #45
It is amusing to watch them pretend to be rich! Rex Feb 2016 #61
oh and have you ever heard of Koch, Alderson or Peterson? tk2kewl Feb 2016 #26
+++++ marions ghost Feb 2016 #37
Oh, you're talking about farmers, right? dchill Feb 2016 #15
Yes, indeed! They have certainly earned truebluegreen Feb 2016 #28
You get it. dchill Feb 2016 #29
You said... Bigmack Feb 2016 #18
It is kinda like Rex Feb 2016 #64
And when they're born into a poor family Warpy Feb 2016 #51
Oh, been there done that, a life lesson lived. Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #57
Indeed, they should really move out of their parents basement. Rex Feb 2016 #63
Notice they did not answer your question, just made it obvious they are very insecure. Rex Feb 2016 #56
Now if we could just reward the industrious... Jerry442 Feb 2016 #4
+++++ marions ghost Feb 2016 #38
And some people come from rich families and never do a lick of work. nt bemildred Feb 2016 #12
Some come from poor families and never do a lick of work. Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #14
And they should have just as much money as the rich people who never do a lick of work: not much. bemildred Feb 2016 #22
You think the Kochs and Paris Hilton are more 'industrious' than Marr Feb 2016 #36
In my experience, it is frequently the person at the lowest end of the income scale Fresh_Start Feb 2016 #52
Some are, some are not, some care about others, some don't. Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #54
I never said everyone at the lower end of the income scale was the most industrious. Fresh_Start Feb 2016 #66
I did not say that, I said it is not means related. Not caring is in all levels of income. Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #67
There are enough statistics, studies and anecdotes out there Fresh_Start Feb 2016 #69
Giving and caring is not always in the form of money, one can Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #71
Correct. Rex Feb 2016 #58
This message was self-deleted by its author Rex Feb 2016 #53
Dangerous talk!!! tazkcmo Feb 2016 #2
+1,000,000,000 (That's a billion, right?) dchill Feb 2016 #19
+++++ marions ghost Feb 2016 #39
WTF am I going to with all the pitchforks and torches I made? Glassunion Feb 2016 #6
Trump supporters would make you an offer. Jerry442 Feb 2016 #8
I could make a billion dollars! Glassunion Feb 2016 #11
About as much as we need tapeworms. nt bemildred Feb 2016 #9
No. They should be taxed out of existence. hunter Feb 2016 #10
If there are not people working and paying taxes, how will anything be financed? Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #17
Huh? Are billionaires the only people working and paying taxes? marmar Feb 2016 #24
Who say that? Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #32
If there are not people working and paying taxes, what would need to be financed? nt bemildred Feb 2016 #25
Got it, no one working, no phone, no internet, no roads, no doctors, no Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #33
Exactly, it's a stupid question. bemildred Feb 2016 #35
Who would print the money? Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #40
The same people who print it now. nt bemildred Feb 2016 #42
Nope, no one is working. Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #43
Only billionaires are working? I'm so confused. Svafa Feb 2016 #48
Don't be the thread is talking about no one working, all will have to Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #49
Well then there is nothing to buy so you won't need money. nt bemildred Feb 2016 #50
Exactly if you follow the thoughts of some people. Thinkingabout Feb 2016 #55
I'm trying, it's not easy. And thank you for taking the time to explain your position. nt bemildred Feb 2016 #68
Ask the wealthy. HughBeaumont Feb 2016 #31
Before Reagan.... RichGirl Feb 2016 #23
Without the billionaires who would buy our government? Tierra_y_Libertad Feb 2016 #30
Not at all robhalf4369 Feb 2016 #34
I'd be happy if more of our billionaires had any class at all. Orrex Feb 2016 #41
Emphatically no. hifiguy Feb 2016 #44
No. It's absurd. n/t moondust Feb 2016 #46
Only if I get to be in it...nt joeybee12 Feb 2016 #47
Do we need the leech class? Of course not, they make their money off of interest rates on the poor. Rex Feb 2016 #59
Of course, we do. How else will some people become the Trillionaire Class? valerief Feb 2016 #60
inequality though, is NOT just about the billionaire class hfojvt Feb 2016 #62
Absolutely. KamaAina Feb 2016 #65
Thomas Picketty, who studied this very dilemma, found this: forest444 Feb 2016 #70

Thinkingabout

(30,058 posts)
13. How does making money bad? Money is the root of some campaigning
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 11:05 AM
Feb 2016

It provides food and shelter. On the other hand some do not want to provide their food and shelter by working.

 

tk2kewl

(18,133 posts)
16. it is not bad by definition
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 11:08 AM
Feb 2016

but as you said it provides food and shelter. and if some have way too much if others go will w/o, even if they are willing to work for it.

 

tk2kewl

(18,133 posts)
21. are you always so condescending?
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 11:19 AM
Feb 2016

and do you always just dismiss the other participants point of view when having a conversation?

Only one of those is someone i have any real respect for anyway, assuming WJC is Bill Clinton. Gates is a cheat. his foundation may do some good, but it does plenty of crappy education reform.

i'm not a fan of mega foundations that take donations from corps and people who are busy making money destroying other people and the environment, while providing the same bad actors with tax write-offs, insider connections and sweetheart government deals.



Thinkingabout

(30,058 posts)
27. Goodbye, I have not been condescending and do not wish to continue a conversation accusing
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 11:35 AM
Feb 2016

me falsely.

 

Rex

(65,616 posts)
61. It is amusing to watch them pretend to be rich!
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 08:00 PM
Feb 2016

Some of our local pretend billionaires are a real hoot to watch!

 

tk2kewl

(18,133 posts)
26. oh and have you ever heard of Koch, Alderson or Peterson?
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 11:24 AM
Feb 2016


I'm not interested in the world being run as the battle of the billionaires.
 

truebluegreen

(9,033 posts)
28. Yes, indeed! They have certainly earned
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 11:54 AM
Feb 2016

the vast wealth they have accumulated by working hard from before sunrise to sunset!
.
.
.
.
.
.
Would that wealth was commensurate with contributions to society. Farmers would be rich, and trash collectors wealthier than hedge fund managers.

 

Bigmack

(8,020 posts)
18. You said...
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 11:08 AM
Feb 2016

..."No, some rises before dawn, works well into the night and repeats the next day."

That would be farm laborers....laborers in general.

And they don't become billionaires that way.

Warpy

(112,166 posts)
51. And when they're born into a poor family
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 07:44 PM
Feb 2016

the three or four jobs they have all pay minimum wage with no benefits.

Honey, you've got one hell of a lot to learn about the world you live in.

Nobody works harder than poor folks.

 

Rex

(65,616 posts)
63. Indeed, they should really move out of their parents basement.
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 08:04 PM
Feb 2016

Their thoughts betray how little they know about real life.

 

Rex

(65,616 posts)
56. Notice they did not answer your question, just made it obvious they are very insecure.
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 07:52 PM
Feb 2016

And of course you didn't say anything about capitalism.

bemildred

(90,061 posts)
22. And they should have just as much money as the rich people who never do a lick of work: not much.
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 11:20 AM
Feb 2016

Tax the living shit out of them.

 

Marr

(20,317 posts)
36. You think the Kochs and Paris Hilton are more 'industrious' than
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 01:51 PM
Feb 2016

miners, farmers, construction workers, etc?

Fresh_Start

(11,330 posts)
52. In my experience, it is frequently the person at the lowest end of the income scale
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 07:47 PM
Feb 2016

they are the most industrious...and they number in the millions.
They are the ones holding down two or more jobs to make ends meet.

And those who industriously make calls while they are chauffered to their next appointment and not the most industrious.
In many ways they are the most fortunate: fortunate at birth or fortunate at being in the right place at the right time or fortunate at having an idea which soared.

Capitalism does not reward the most industrious: it rewards those with the most capital.

Thinkingabout

(30,058 posts)
54. Some are, some are not, some care about others, some don't.
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 07:51 PM
Feb 2016

It is not class related on caring about others. Some are content to allow others to provide their needs, again not class related.

Fresh_Start

(11,330 posts)
66. I never said everyone at the lower end of the income scale was the most industrious.
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 08:38 PM
Feb 2016

I'm just saying that if you were to look for the 1000,10000,100000, or 1000000 most industrious people in terms of hours of labor...those people would be among the poorest.

The work because they must. Even their children work from an early age because they must.


Fresh_Start

(11,330 posts)
69. There are enough statistics, studies and anecdotes out there
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 08:54 PM
Feb 2016

those with less give more., on average.

As a percent of income...which in the case of the poor means they actually sacrifice to help others.
The wealthy are not giving up a nice meal, a new toy for their child or a coffee at a cafe..in order to help others.
But the poor do that frequently.

Yes, there are caring people in every income category...but this was a thread about capitalism and industriousness.

Thinkingabout

(30,058 posts)
71. Giving and caring is not always in the form of money, one can
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 09:14 PM
Feb 2016

Hold a dying one's hand in the last days, can lend a hand to a mother overwhelmed with child care, can transport the elderly, many more things which does not require money.

 

Rex

(65,616 posts)
58. Correct.
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 07:56 PM
Feb 2016

The silver spoon class sure does pretend to work hard for their money! The working class if far more industrious then the billionaire leech class that makes money off of interest.

Response to Thinkingabout (Reply #1)

tazkcmo

(7,404 posts)
2. Dangerous talk!!!
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 10:48 AM
Feb 2016

Of course we need billionaires! Who would create poverty wage jobs without them? Who could we depend on to buy our government so that we can enjoy watching our infrastructure decay? Who's homes would we get to see on TV that some of us watch through a store window where we're not allowed to enter because we don't have enough money or the wrong "look"? Who else will establish "charitable foundations" that are more a tool of influence peddling and income generation than an actual charity? Who else would the American under class (Middle class? What middle class?) support with their taxes while he billionaires enjoy their off shore tax havens? Who else would rig the Free Markets in their favor?

This kind of questioning of the Beautiful People by us Proles is putting in danger our American Way Of Life and I for one won't stand for it as my break isn't until Thursday and until then I'm chained into my chair at my work bench.







sarcasm

hunter

(38,575 posts)
10. No. They should be taxed out of existence.
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 11:01 AM
Feb 2016

Some of them should be in prison.

Most of them have not made, nor are they making, the world a better place.

Thinkingabout

(30,058 posts)
33. Got it, no one working, no phone, no internet, no roads, no doctors, no
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 01:26 PM
Feb 2016

Social net, no grocery stores, no gas, no transportation. It would leave plenty of time for all to provide their shelter and food. Oh, no clean water or modern conveniences, no need, no homes.

bemildred

(90,061 posts)
35. Exactly, it's a stupid question.
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 01:43 PM
Feb 2016

We would finance things the same way we do now, we would print the money, the only difference is the government would print it instead of the Fed, so we could pay ourselves the interest instead of Goldman-Sachs.

Thinkingabout

(30,058 posts)
49. Don't be the thread is talking about no one working, all will have to
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 06:37 PM
Feb 2016

Fend for themselves. Won't need money, no banks, no feds, nothing. It will be like living in one's personal commune.

HughBeaumont

(24,461 posts)
31. Ask the wealthy.
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 12:51 PM
Feb 2016

They seem to have this magical notion that you can offshore/automate every job except their own and still somehow have continued consumption-driven business.

RichGirl

(4,119 posts)
23. Before Reagan....
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 11:22 AM
Feb 2016

The richest people made approx. 20 times more than poor. Today, its 300 times more.

In Reagan...GOP had the perfect candidate...formerly democratic governor of California, movie star that everyone loved. Early signs of Alzheimers that made him easy to manipulate. You think this nice man would have called ketchup a vegetable in relation to school lunches?

My very first job a month from graduating from high school:

Starting pay: double what minimum wage was back then. (Mostly only high school kids with after school jobs got minimum wage.)
Guaranteed annual raise.
FULL healthcare coverage. No co-pay
Time and a half pay for over-time, double pay on Sundays.

AND...NIXON WAS PRESIDENT!!!

 

Rex

(65,616 posts)
59. Do we need the leech class? Of course not, they make their money off of interest rates on the poor.
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 07:59 PM
Feb 2016

They don't actually put anything back into the system, all they do is leech off the working class.

hfojvt

(37,573 posts)
62. inequality though, is NOT just about the billionaire class
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 08:02 PM
Feb 2016

Do some people need to make $150,000 a year?

 

KamaAina

(78,249 posts)
65. Absolutely.
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 08:19 PM
Feb 2016

It would cover topics such as philanthropy, investing in the community, paying a decent wage, and not buying politicians. Attendance would be mandatory for all billionaires.

forest444

(5,902 posts)
70. Thomas Picketty, who studied this very dilemma, found this:
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 08:58 PM
Feb 2016

That paying Fortune 500 CEOs up to $2 million (in today's dollars) has historically made at least some sense in that up tothat amount, pay and performance have historically been somewhat linked.

Anything above that figure, however, was shown to be a complete waste of money - with zero, even negative, correlation between pay and measurable performance.

In other words, anything above $2 million a year, no matter how big the company, is vanity pay and therefore has no place is a modern society.

Et Voilà.

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