A recent study
estimated that the 497 billionaires on the planet Earth own assets worth
$1.54 trillion. That's right: $1,540,000,000,000!
Wouldn't it be great if there could be
a 10% "You Just Can't Hog That Much of the Earth's Resources" tax
imposed on them? That would raise $154 billion.
The United Nations has estimated that for
the entire world, "[p]roviding universal access to basic social services and
transfers to alleviate income poverty would cost $80 billion."
Gee, the 10% tax
would raise almost double that. Maybe we could be less harsh on our
billionaire brethren, and cut the tax to 5%. We certainly wouldn't
want to unnecessarily cause them to give up any part of the lifestyle to
which they've become accustomed.
Objections, Objections, Always
"Hey, wait a
minute!" I hear the right-wing hordes shouting. Those 497
billionaire heroes earned their money honestly, and have every right to keep
every red cent of it, the rest of humanity be damned!
Not the way I look
at it. In so many ways, Earth is a lifeboat we've all been placed
on. Imagine on a real lifeboat that there are five people. One of
them nominally "owns" most of the provisions aboard.
He insists that he'll eat as much as he wants, and doesn't have to share any
of it with anybody else. How long do you think it will be before the
only relationship with food that he has is as a tasty meal for a shark?
There's not infinite
wealth on earth. If some passengers on the lifeboat have so much that
others are without, the over-provisioned ones just have to give some of
This whole concept
of private property is, don't you realize, an artificial construct of man's
imagination. Unless you have a certificate of title from the Creator, no one
really can "own" anything other than by the agreement of everyone
else that such ownership is valid. And most of the time, that's
fine. I'm all for private property!
But right now we do
exclude certain things from being owned. Humanity wouldn't tolerate it
if someone came along and claimed to own the oxygen in the air.
Certain land, such as Antarctica, has been put off limits.
I say ridiculous
levels of wealth accumulation by individuals should likewise be considered
outside the pale, something that simply cannot be tolerated if the majority
of mankind has anything to say about it.
Might Makes Right, Doesn't It?
Which leads to the
final point. The majority of humanity has never had any say about it.
Unlike what the
powers that be would like us all to obediently believe, the 497 billionaires
-- not to mention the First World nations over the centuries of formal
colonialism and the successor World Bank/IMF regime -- did not acquire their
lewdly disproportionate share of the Earth's resources
"honestly." "Might makes right" is more like
The Ultimate Aphorism
"aphorism" is defined as:
1 : a concise statement of a
2 : a terse formulation of a truth or