#339 – Dick Bernard: Part 9. The Rich

Pretty clearly, the Rich have won, at least temporarily. Not the ordinary rich, but the Filthy Rich.
Take a moment to look at what “rich” means, thanks to a series of charts published in Mother Jones magazine.
Then, there’s an interesting commentary entitled “Koch Dreams” which refers to a David Koch piece in the Wall Street Journal, and some counterpoint. That is here.
There are over 2500 comments to the Mother Jones piece. One can get a flavor by just looking at a few of them.
I am always interested in the apologies/justifications for the Rich folks: they’ve earned it, they deserve it; it’s to their credit, etc. The poor, were they not such dolts, could do as well. The America dream is open to everyone, or so the Ayn Randians suggest. Go for it.
For some of the rich, money does indeed grow on trees…until the tree dies. Ask the supposedly savvy folks who queued up to be accepted as investors by Bernard Madoff. Each of them had heard of the risk pyramid – the greater the return, the greater the risk. But the siren song of guaranteed high returns on investments proved irresistible. And then the crash came and they lost anything, and it is everyone’s fault but theirs. They earned that money, they say. Until it disappeared.
There are lots of followers of Bernie Madoff-likes….
Money does grow on trees, only because it is abundantly fertilized by those of less means. It is the middle and lower classes that fuel wealth in this and other countries. One wonders, then, why the wealthy is obsessed with making the middle class poorer, and weaker, and the lower class destitute. That is what seems to be happening these days.
If I venture outside my suburb to the inner cities, I’ll come across pan-handlers working very hard to collect enough money for their evening delight, whatever that happens to be – or for their very survival.
If I accept the stereotype – that it’s cheap booze they’re after – they have to buy the booze, and in so doing contribute to an entire food chain of wealth, right up to the super wealthy. That panhandler contributes to the wealth of that entrepreneur who markets the cheap wine. It’s legitimate business. But without the addict, it would be a little more difficult for the rich guy.
This doesn’t stop at my communities poor. I have a particular affection for Haiti. If one goes to Haiti these days, the only rice one sees is labeled American rice. That’s because the domestic Haitian rice farming enterprise was deliberately destroyed back in the 1980s by American government policy, giving the long term competitive advantage to American rice growers. Sell cheap rice, drive Haitian farmers out of business, corner the market and increase the prices…. It’s easy.
Haiti is one of the world’s poorest nations. Every time I’d go to a meeting about Haiti someone would ask why there is such an interest in keeping Haiti down. There were a number of different answers.
The one which made the most sense to me was this: there are about 8,000,000 Haitians, and if they have an average resource of $1 a day, perhaps one-fourth of that, a quarter in American dollars, goes for food, usually rice. Doing some simple math, that’s $2,000,000 a day, or $730,000,000 a year – and this in the poorest country in the hemisphere. Low hanging economic fruit.
Bigger picture: the only advantage the rich do not have is the numbers. For every rich person there might be as many as 99 who are not so rich.
This is a known problem for the wealthy, and the strategy is how to keep the vast majority quiet and in chains.
So far they’ve been successful.
But they always live in fear of being found out.
More on that in a following post.