As I meditate on this video, a few ideas come to my mind.
1. That the 1% has so much power because they have expanded their reach on a global scale. Take for example Google, Facebook, Microsoft, or Apple. Their clients are no longer confined to the U.S.A., their clients are all over the world. So of course their revenues are collected from the whole planet, not from a single nation.
2. Many of these people who are now part of the 1% were part of the 99% in their youth. Steve Jobs (C.E.O. of Apple) was not able to afford university classes, so he used to sneak into different classrooms hoping that he would not be caught. The creators of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin where the sons of poor immigrants. The creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg was part of the middle class. Bill Gates created his company in his garage when he was 15 years old. Warren Buffett had humble beginnings. Michael Dell created Dell Computers from his dorm room. There is a great list of entrepreneurs who were dead-poor or just middle-class folk when they created something that the rest of the world considers valuable and gladly pays for it.
3. As the world becomes more global, the opportunities to become insanely rich continue to multiply and the opportunities are everywhere. One guy became rich by creating the iphone app I-fart. Can you blame him if millions of people want to give him money for this silly thing? He took a small risk that paid out big. He came out with an idea and took action. I believe that if a person wants to become rich, the opportunity is there. With the internet, people can find clients for their product and services all around the globe.
4. At the same time that some people’s income is raising crazily fast, some other group of people are seen their income evaporating. As technology improves, robots and machines are slowly taking over the jobs that at one time belonged to humans. A car assembly line is practically ran by robots. The same goes for so many industries (metals, paper, etc.) that at one time were labor intensive, now they are robot intensive. With so many people displaced from their perceived secured jobs, it is normal to see more people unemployed living below the poverty level.
5. Many people believe that income inequality can be fixed by increasing taxes on the rich. Well, once a government starts taxing more than 50% of one’s revenue, rich people simply move to a different country. Remember Eduardo Saverin, one of the co-founders of Facebook? He simply renounced his U.S. citizenship, packed his bags and moved all his millions to Singapore. How about Canadian businessman Frank Stronach who simply renounced his Canadian citizenship and moved to Switzerland. A simple wire transfer and now all his millions are under another jurisdiction. If government squeezes all the rich people too hard, they can simply get their private jets and go away and we will finally achieve income equality because only the poor people will remain. I have to point out that after the government takes about 50% of the rich people’s income, many of the rich give away the other half by way of the charity institutions of their choice in ways that are a lot more efficient than government could ever do. Bill Gates has made it his life purpose to help poor people with their education and to cure diseases in Africa. Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey have created hundreds of organizations in Africa and other under developed countries. The Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations are still helping people long after their founders are dead. The list goes on and on.
6. Government has a lot of responsibility for this inequality. During the financial meltdown of 2008, government came to the rescue of the big banks at the expense of the taxpayers. What a bad move. The government taking away money from the taxpayers to give to the rich. Still today, 2013, the government continues taking from the poor to give to the rich by keeping a zero interest rate policy. When the poor savers have no interest return for their hard earned cash, they are forced to “invest it”. They are forced to buy stocks in the stock market, which is the equivalent of giving their money almost for free to the big corporations. The government wastes precious resources by fighting wars that break the country financially. Vietnam, Iraq, Syria. I am sorry, I don’t support the troops. These soldiers go to other jurisdictions as mercenaries, killing people or being killed to support someone else economic interest. Many of these wars were not in self defense. These wars represent the aggression of a North American government looking to get an economic gain. Also, the government has wasted millions of dollars and lives fighting the war on drugs instead of offering assistance to drug users. Finally, The U.S. government has more people incarcerated than communist Russia.
What is the solution?
There is no solution. There will always be inequality, but there are ways to take better care of the people who are struggling.
1. For all of those people who have lost their jobs to robotics or to outsourcing, there should be programs that would re-educate them and reintroduce them to the labor force. As some opportunities closes in one industrial sector, other opportunities open up in another sector.
3. The government needs to stop intervening. Bailing-out dying industries is a form of stealing from the poor to give to the rich. Taking tax money to save dishonest banks, saving badly run car companies, participating in wars to help the defense industry. The government continues getting involved in the market, always benefiting the rich to the expense of the poor. Government should stop getting involved. Let the market do its self cleansing.
4. People who are in difficult economic situation can do some things to improve their fate. We have to stop this Television culture, Netflix’s shareholders becoming rich out of people television addition. People need to stop eating junk food and develop healthy eating habits. Stop smoking for god sakes, smoking kills you, it gives you lung cancer. Stop playing the lottery. People need to get off Facebook (me included) and use that time more productively. People need to take responsibility for themselves and start using this wonderful tool called the internet to continue educating themselves . The world is so full of opportunities. Really, all you have to do is extend your hand and pick one.