The rich are very worried these days at least a growing number. For example, the excellent Drudge Report contains a link to an article about the increasing popularity of building panic rooms.
These are lock-up rooms highly impregnable to intruders, be they government sponsored youth gangs to take out dissenters or to grab wealth like in the novel “A Clockwork Orange” or more realistically, “deadly” burglars. The latter are doing exceptionally well in the wealthy parts of London but may have a hard time penetrating panic rooms.
Then there is the rise of risks attached to a new Cold War which may give certain Russians more excuses to cyber-plunder not only to undermine the security and economic macro environments?
There have been also a good number of articles about the super rich building private airstrips in quiet faraway places like New Zealand in case there is civil breakdown and/or serious war. Are they out of their minds? No, they are possibly just getting a bit too far ahead of themselves and can afford to.
And certainly if they are getting worried this much, they are in need of help. It is my sense of charity that will be directed to explain why too many of the rich are not as helpful to themselves as they should be even though some really try. And then to explain solutions that would be most helpful to them in calming their nerves, all in reducing the growing risks they are facing. No charge, this is charity work.
After all, one of the worst concerns these days regarding risk is that Russia has talked more about its nuclear arsenal as a last ditch line in the sand against what is sees as continuous NATO provocation. In fact, Putin has essentially just recently declared NATO as an official enemy by describing the organization as a “threat”, quote, unquote. And Middle East connected extremism in the West is spreading particularly in Europe even making more Jews give second thought to living there.
One would think that Western elites, especially aggressive western neoconservatives should be be more measured in dealing with Russia and other countries they have overly isolated or previously and excessively exploited or bombed. This is called limiting the blowback effect though no one is suggesting no assertion of western views and interests when need be. These neocons though need to better deal as well with the poor and dispossessed and disposed of in their own societies as a corollary in ensuring more stability.
The western rich therefore need to recognize better that neo-cons like John McCain to Victoria Nuland are risk enlargers to them not protectors of their global wealth or the people’s overall well being.
Just look how Ukraine is falling apart and becoming a great expense to the West with the US VP giving lectures to the Ukraine government on how the oligarchs with government assistance should stop massively stealing western kent taxpayer money. Putin must be shaking his head and saying I told you to stay out as even the Ukrainian elites scammed Russia and its oligarchs in some instances.
All of these angry people and countries, feeling economically marginalized or pushed down are not good for these mostly western elite groups probably controlling 80 percent of the world’s private investment and financial wealth.
If they will not sufficiently wake up to this reality, now then when will they? Look at South Africa to see when apartheid came to an end and why. But in this case we are talking about financial apartheid as private and family wealth gets more concentrated in the controlling hands of the few.
Around the same time as this growth in panic room building, the head of Facebook said he would be dedicating the vast majority of his fortune to philanthropy. That is after nasty battles to sideline some of his original partners from partaking in the Facebook bonanza. That is a good head start for other super rich to follow.
As well, a number of billionaires on TV channels like the BBC have expressed worries about how polarized society is getting between the have and have nots. Yes, people are glowingly restless about such distortions and evermore know who has the money and why.
Frankly you can even see it in the growing rudeness and loutishness in society on the street as another reminder, though a softer one, how unhinged people are getting under the pressures they are evermore facing.
There is an increasing lack of respect for authority as they see too many at the very top smashing them and getting away with too many unethical practices. Insensitivity above breeds insensitivity below. The elites need to get on with prosecuting the most corrupt among their ranks.
This anger is also manifested in the politics of populism that represents another such possible indicator of cracks in society against certain members of the top of society or because of them. It is not so easy being at the top these days? What a pity. Actually, I really mean it.
It is ,however, easier and easier to say also that society has gotten so far away too often from positive and sustainable wealth creation almost universally. Just look at financial institutions and lack of community cohesion. So much so that too many individuals and their families are often increasingly feeling the side effect negatives of free trade and overall globalization including in the West though free trade in itself is overall probably positive.
These marginalized in particular feel or are much more aware of Wall Street and Canary “Wolf’s” rigging of the system to evermore benefit of a tiny percentage of the few. This is not rocket science but these banks were never in such a focus for ill feelings in the previous several decades.
With the West’s profound outwardly statements of the need for inclusiveness through democracy and standing for human rights, how can this “new economic feudalism” have devolved where most at the top are bought out by new overlords? Fortunately, not all.
I would suggest it has happened because the so-called capitalists, meaning the crony ones – as opposed to the good ones- do not want to see truly open markets with strong anti-combine forces to crack them up where necessary. This is why the big banks get bigger and more and more wealth is concentrated in fewer hands and more politicians with true meaningful responsibilities are less independent to these crony forces.
Indeed, these bankers and crony capitalists largely are controlling too much top government brass, directly and indirectly all of which undermine the people’s feelings of loyalty to the state.
Hence, wide public efforts in China for the government to be seen as thwarting corruption. Congratulations to the Chinese even if the applications are not always perfect.
I wish we would see more of these public anti-corruption drives in the West. I wish as a start the Attorney General would put more corrupt bankers in jail though not to be executed as the Chinese do to some of the fraudulent financiers. Just about every country has reason to jail more of them would be a good guess and would underscore to the people more democracy and justice for all.
China by the way experienced a pitchfork revolution in 1949 and so is aware of the potential of mass people power in historically recent years. And it does not want to see a new revolution against itself and nor should any government be so unlucky to experience one. Revolutions lead to brutal excesses, too often. We need the rich. We need their money and wealth creation not to drive it completely out or stop it from working by unnecessary coups.
For the Maoist revolution, like most real serious revolutions to say the least are messy and particularly the cultural revolution which followed. If it ever got off the ground in the West would we see bankers in the field planting trees and strawberries? Not a bad idea at least for week-ends in my view as an ex-tree planter, galore but no, pro Al Gore.
However, the outrage publicity in investment centers would not be positive. You get my point about revolutions and humiliating the very well-off. Glad to be of help.
Yes, indeed, the pitchfork “barbarians” are evermore on the way to the gates even if it is more in mentality now than mass action that has died down a bit in America when compared to the days of Occupy Wall Street. Or at least the long new march towards it is not well underway.
Hence, why there is a growing wake-up among a discrete quarter of the very rich who are giving more attention to prepper type thinking to protect themselves or overall personal security. And why they are giving more statements about giving away huge fortunes.
Let us face it, on the other hand. The majority of readers here and myself are not in the same situation as the vast majority of the world’s people who from one end of the scale live on one dollar a day or less to even those worrying all the time about employment security though dedicated to doing our jobs. Most in the West do not have any near the same reason to complain about our own conditions though are more freely able to do so.
Thus, there should be more of a noble obligation to defend the weak and exploited though devoid of cultural imperialism particularly by those who can afford it which in turn might make a safer world for all. Too many feel, as supported by what Oscar Wilde said that thevast majority of humankind live desperate lives such that they are relatively powerless against the crushing political and economic weight of certain forces that disproportionately influence the government and their lives. I have known about it.
For example, spare me a diversion but no dime. I have though starved, been “humiliated” by certain overly authoritarian corporate executives or employers for my distinct views including environmental ones for example, as mild as they were at the time, (e.g. let’s plant more trees). Clearly, their efforts were not sustainable as everyone with a brain today is neverthekess pro-environment and excess authoritarianism is largely proving to be bad management as well as overly trying to marginalize the views of positive activists.
I will restrain myself from overly talking about some of my executive class classmates including top bankers some of whom were not so pleasant to deal with as a very middle class kid at the time. Arrogance is a behaviour that can have a bad snap back. I thank them for partly inspiring my own sense of populism. They in turn I hope will at least be more generous with their wallets to supporting effective charities evermore so. But who knows.
That means I have a certain empathy for those struggling. As we see that those who have had bad times and who are less well-to-do are more sympathetic of the poor and how it can happen.
Sorry, as well, in rejecting as a solution pure socialism as it largely does not work. More revenues to government to help the poor of which too many governments often prove inefficient to corrupt is not the way to go in my humble opinion, overall. Even municipal community bodies should be able to do better as a general rule than large central state apparatuses.
Quality semi-private to private foundations with some degree of popular participation and practical decentralization should be more of the way. Though there is certainly a role for government in a number of areas.
Rather motoring on now to specific solutions that will stop or mitigate a pitchfork mentality or revolution especially in certain western countries, we need monetary easing for the world’s poor of directly putting money in their hands and setting up better pension funds to help them in the benevolent way of Singapore under private sector like management where applicable. There should be non-exchangable education vouchers for the needy for everything from vocational training to language learning to attending university.
The student loan crisis and its potential for damaging western governments and certainly the economic stability of the loan holders is monstrous. We need less money going to the JP Morgan’s and more going to those in need. It would also likely stimulate consumer spending by the way and necessary household deleveraging to some extent.
Sometimes I think the executive class and the top families that run the banks and in turn the central banks – meaning the world- are greedy, even psychopathic at times and certainly arrogant if not deadly. They are often times their own worst enemies even when their intentions are good.
Though again this is a gross generalization as certain members within them are trying to arrest the excesses of their combines with effective philanthropy and advice. They largely seem to come up with few ideas that are solid for stabilizing society in a more profound enlightened and fairer way.
Even the head of Goldman Sachs throws up his hands and says it is not his problem about wealth distribution despite growing up not so well off in his youth. They really at times do not know what to do on social policy and generating more income fairness. At least I hope this has been helpful because a more enlightened rich is better than a fleeing rich. Enough said