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jeudi 7 novembre 2019

Inequality : Think billionaires are just super-rich people? Big mistake, by Arwa Mahdawi | The Guardian 6 Nov 2019

The hard realities of extreme wealth – political influence and jaw-dropping inequality – should have us all protesting in the streets

Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett …
The world’s 26 richest people own as much
as the poorest 50%
Should billionaires exist ? There has been much heated debate in the US and the UK on this subject recently. Bernie Sanders says billionaires should be taxed out of existence while Joe Biden has warned against demonising rich people.

The fact that we are even having this debate is a depressing indication of the extent to which extreme inequality has been normalised. 

Of course billionaires shouldn’t exist. This shouldn’t be a remotely controversial thing to say; it shouldn’t even be considered a leftwing thing to say. If you believe in capitalism and democracy, as opposed to oligarchy, you shouldn’t believe in billionaires. After all, those billions don’t just buy you superyachts, they buy you politicians and policies.

People such as Biden want you to think billionaires are just very rich people who earned their fortunes through hard work. This is laughable. Nobody becomes a billionaire through hard work alone; there’s a statistic floating around social media that if you made $5,000 a day every day, starting in 1492, when Columbus arrived in America, you would still have less money than Jeff Bezos, who is worth a net $110bn post-divorce.

Read more : Mark Zuckerberg's plea for the billionaire class is deeply anti-democratic
Kate Aronoff

I don’t have anything against rich people or even super-rich people. I don’t think we should ban the very wealthy from existing. But it is wrong to think that billionaires are just super-rich people. They are not even super super rich people. They are “impossible to get your head around how rich that is” people. They are “something is fundamentally wrong with the system” rich people. Three billionaires – Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett – collectively have more wealth than 160 million Americans. The world’s 26 richest people own as much as the poorest 50%. These kinds of statistics should have us all protesting in the streets. Instead, we are debating whether we should all be nicer to billionaires.

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