Greatest of congratulations to the world’s billionaires highlighted in the latest Forbes! Leading the pack is Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu with a net worth of $69,000,000,000, or a neat 14,700,000 times the median household income of that poor country! Bill Gates is number two with $61,000,000,000 or almost 2,000,000 times the median US household income. Forbes goes on to honor 1,151 other billionaires from around the world.
Of course these worthy nobles couldn’t have achieved such success unaided. Here’s a brief list of just some of the key supporting conditions permitting such success.
- Lack of meaningful enforcement against monopoly or oligopoly coupled with unceasing protection of ownership rights.
- Open borders for capital allowing capital flight at the 1st instance of dangerous social legislation. This, coupled with the absence of any meaningful global regulation.
- Suppression of union and worker power and the unrestricted “freedom” to exploit workforces everywhere.
- Ability of wealth to finance political parties, control think tanks, and reward pliant politicians.
- Ability of wealth to control the media and all means of propaganda.
- Ability of wealth to control the military, police, and security apparatuses.
- Willingness of central banks and politicians to bail out failed investments and prop up the system.
- Willingness of central banks to provide risk free returns on public debt.
- Willingness of public officials to value the interests of wealth far above the prosperity of the masses.
- The key role of the economics profession in so ably providing the intellectual cover for the system and, with the use of advanced mathematics, convincing majorities that the system is good, efficient, and lacking alternatives, despite blinding poverty, insecurity, and inequality.
- Low income and inheritance tax rates.
I could go on, but these are just a few of the important underlying requirements for a caste of Lords to arise or, more accurately, to continue on from the feudal era. But as we congratulate these 1,153 individuals, I don’t think we should lose sight that they are the winners in a Darwinian world that they (their class) have created. If it weren’t Carlos and Bill it would be José and John; the Darwinian rules of the game guarantee it. Like presidents, these are just the changing faces of a fixed system. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, as some past rock band used to sing.