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The Earth Is A Lifeboat, And Its Resources Should Be Fairly Shared

January 24, 2002

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 Objections!

"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 theirs up!

Private Property?

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 it.

The Ultimate Aphorism

An "aphorism"  is defined as:

1 : a concise statement of a principle
2 : a terse formulation of a truth or
[Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary]

Viscerally, just about my favorite aphorism in the world is contained in these words I heard from an impoverished but infinitely wise Third World woman:

God gave the earth to everyone equally, and if some have too much and some too little, the ones with too much must have stolen it some way.

It's long past time for all stolen property to be returned to the rightful owners!

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

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