Just posted three hours ago over at Vanity Fair’s website, Columbia University economist and Nobel Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz reminds us why his pen is mightier than a Wall Street boardroom full of swords in: “The 1 Percent’s Problem.”
Stiglitz snark-a-liciously appeals to the one percent’s unbridled self-interest and greed throughout his latest column by explaining that record-breaking income inequality is bad for business and runs against the very grain of the one thing that every self-adulating member of the status quo cares about most in life: their bottom line.
Here’s how the guy--whom I consider to be one of the most important people on the planet—wraps up his latest Vanity Fair piece…
The 1 Percent’s ProblemStarting along the way to reaching that conclusion—without giving away the best parts of his article—he advises the wealthy to: “…Put sentiment aside. There are good reasons why plutocrats should care about inequality anyway—even if they’re thinking only about themselves. The rich do not exist in a vacuum. They need a functioning society around them to sustain their position…”
May 31, 2012
…The “Be Selfish” Solution
Many, if not most, Americans possess a limited understanding of the nature of the inequality in our society. They know that something has gone wrong, but they underestimate the harm that inequality does even as they overestimate the cost of taking action. These mistaken beliefs, which have been reinforced by ideological rhetoric, are having a catastrophic effect on politics and economic policy.
There is no good reason why the 1 percent, with their good educations, their ranks of advisers, and their much-vaunted business acumen, should be so misinformed. The 1 percent in generations past often knew better. They knew that there would be no top of the pyramid if there wasn’t a solid base—that their own position was precarious if society itself was unsound. Henry Ford, not remembered as one of history’s softies, understood that the best thing he could do for himself and his company was to pay his workers a decent wage, because he wanted them to work hard and he wanted them to be able to buy his cars. Franklin D. Roosevelt, a purebred patrician, understood that the only way to save an essentially capitalist America was not only to spread the wealth, through taxation and social programs, but to put restraints on capitalism itself, through regulation. Roosevelt and the economist John Maynard Keynes, while reviled by the capitalists, succeeded in saving capitalism from the capitalists. Richard Nixon, known to this day as a manipulative cynic, concluded that social peace and economic stability could best be secured by investment—and invest he did, heavily, in Medicare, Head Start, Social Security, and efforts to clean up the environment. Nixon even floated the idea of a guaranteed annual income.
So, the advice I’d give to the 1 percent today is: Harden your hearts. When invited to consider proposals to reduce inequality—by raising taxes and investing in education, public works, health care, and science—put any latent notions of altruism aside and reduce the idea to one of unadulterated self-interest. Don’t embrace it because it helps other people. Just do it for yourself.
In-between that thought and the conclusion, in blockquotes above, he does a deeper dive on the four primary problems within our economy that any aspiring Bernie Madoff-wannabee must seek to effectively address to attain their goal of financial domination within our society; specifically, these are problems relating to: consumption, “rent seeking,” fairness and mistrust.
With a quick review of Stiglitz’ latest, you, too, may now learn all the secrets to being a successful member of the one percent. Or, at least a more equitably compensated member of the ninety-nine percent that serves them. To learn more, simply read the rest of his column in this coming month’s Vanity Fair, LINKED RIGHT HERE.
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