It’s not really a difficult concept to understand. You are at a feast with 99 other hungry people. The table is set with tons of food of all description. Your mouth is watering as are the mouths of the other people there. The scent of all your favorite edibles floats on the air and the table looks perfectly beautiful. There seems to be enough for everyone.
Then someone hands out the plates as people line up to serve themselves from this sumptuous buffet. The first person in line is given a plate nearly the size of the table the food is on. Subsequent diners are handed plates about the size of a coffee cup saucer. By the time the first person has filled up their plate, the amount of food on the table has been reduced considerably, so much so that there is nothing left for the last ten people.
Let’s carry this on a little farther. The person with the plate loaded with more than they could ever possibly eat, finds that they cannot carry the plate by themselves. In the mean-time, some of the other diners are getting a bit restless. Others are quite angry. Others just don’t know what to do. The owner of the large plate sees this and instead of sharing from his plate so that all present can be sated, he offers three of those who got nothing on their saucer two saucers worth of food if they will carry his food away. They demand six saucers worth and settle for three.
Seeing that his caravan of food might be attacked and taken, he assesses the rest of the group and, due to their divisions, correctly figures that all he needs is an army of eight to control the situation. He offers the other seven who did not get anything five saucers worth of food to be his army and he offers one of those who got something on their plate ten saucers worth to lead the other seven. After his deals are made, he surveys his stocks and finds that he still has most of what he started out with.
This is a really simplified version of what’s going on right now in the world. There are some questions we need to ask ourselves about this scenario in order to make sense of present events. Does the one person have the right to nearly all of the food, even though they will never be able to eat it all? Perhaps they were faster, stronger, more impatient or smarter, but does that give them the right to the largest share? If we take from this one person and divide it among the rest, are we taking away the rights of that person? What weighs more, the rights of that one person who has it all or the rights of the rest who need it to survive? Your answer to these questions will determine the kind of world you would like to live in: a world of inequality, racism, wars, famines, and a small population of very rich rulers dominating the globe or a more democratic world operated for the survival and enrichment of all humanity.
There are some who will indignantly say that those who do not work do not deserve anything. Others will claim a “birthright,” as if some of us are more privileged because of the circumstances of our birth. The fact is that most of the world’s wealth is passed on down family lines. It is also a fact that those with the most work the least. There is also the fact from a recent online article that 0.00025% (that’s 400 people) of the US owns more . If we are going to allow wealth in our society, in our world to be distributed this way, we are allowing the kings and queens and their kingdoms that were mostly eradicated in WWI to exist again in all their not so glory. The increase in wealth concentration takes wealth away from those who need it most.
I saw a meme today that said something to the effect that if we took all the billionaires’ money, it wouldn’t be enough to solve our problems. Politicians are the problem. This is something too many Americans believe and it is demonstrably incorrect. First of all, billionaires own everything: the money, banks, factories, mines, transportation, all media, and politicians. If billionaires own politicians, it follows that they control what they do. So if the billionaires own everything how can it be just the politicians’ fault that we’re in this mess? We don’t even need billionaires. We have rights and some would say others have rights to be billionaires but that’s not exactly true. Our rights are dependent on not interfering with the rights of others. The problem with billionaires is they seem to have more rights than the rest of us and that’s not right. They also exercise their rights in such a way as to destroy our environment which belongs to all of us not just a few with money and power. Billionaires also disrupt governments as they use their money and influence to get laws that will increase their fortunes. One billion is never enough. If we allow billionaires to exist, then we continue our oligarchy, we continue to be ruled by kings and queens.