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We've been told that Plutistan (those worth more than a million) increased its population by one million last year, bringing it to 12 million, with a combined worth of over 50 trillion. To put that in perspective, Plutistan could easily pay for the US military out of its income  and NASA out of the change it found behind the cushions.

I was talking to a friend tonight, who is generally off the grid, very law abiding (yes, I know that may seem like a non sequitur, especially since since she is Greek) who asked the very simple question.

What do they want?

They already have everything. Are they building spaceships made of gold? Self-contained cities? Life everlasting? What?

And then she brought up a ducktales cartoon that she'd read eons ago. Scrooge was forced to spend tons of money for tax reasons so he took the nephews across the country on a spending spree. They went to the fanciest resorts, the best restaurants, no whim was too idle. When the kids tired of expensive food and got  burgers, Scrooge got the doggie bag wrapped in gold foil.

When Scrooge got back his enthusiastic underlings told him that some rich fool had blown a ton of money at his establishments and made him even richer.

This cartoon was decades ago yet remains as true as ever.

Do the very rich know what they want or are they as incompetent as the rest of us, if not more so? Do they realize that there are no other planets to go to? That longevity treatments have to be tested? That their wealth depends on the commonwealth?

Do the very rich know what they are doing?

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Comment Preferences

  •  What's happening seems consistant with (8+ / 0-)

    the rich knowing what they're doing.
    Looks like they have a plan and the rest of us appear to be on the short end.

    Ask me how Obamacare has helped my family.

    by cosette on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:31:07 PM PDT

    •  disagree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shippo1776, Odysseus, gfv6800

      the rich have no plan, they are simply money junkies, like every other addict.  To make matters worse many are also sociopaths.

      They have no grand plan.

      •  Well, everyone's got an opinion. (0+ / 0-)

        Ever heard of the twice yearly private retreat that the Koch brothers host?

        Ask me how Obamacare has helped my family.

        by cosette on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:29:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  sure (0+ / 0-)

          problem is the rich will only share with other rich people up til a point. Sociopaths have no real friends.

          What happens when say the next currency crisis, or credit crisis hits the world and trillions hang in the balance...  they arent going to simply play nice, they will start wars.

          There isnt a bunch of smart rich people running this world. Its a ship without a captain.

    •  Indeed. The real problem is, of course, that WE (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      do not know what they're doing, where they're stashing the money, how they manage accumulate so much, and what the hell we could possibly dream or do to change their behavior toward the rest of us.

      That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

      by concernedamerican on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:46:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think that the people at the very top (10+ / 0-)

    have a plan. It is global control. The ones in on that are worth billions not millions. A million dollars isn't that big a deal anymore. It's not enough to buy a house in a nice neighborhood in San Francisco. The people who are down in that zone are just worried about how they look to each other.

    •  Yep Every Power of 10 Has Its Application. (6+ / 0-)

      In the higher thousands you're talking about individual and eventually family security.

      In the middle millions you're talking about very comfortable family life and small enterprises.

      Into the billions and you're talking influencing markets.

      --And government.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:40:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Millionaires won't know what hit them. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LeftHandedMan, blueoasis, DBunn

      They might want to come to my garage which is amply supplied with torches and pitchforks...
      and barricades.
      /sortof a joke

      Ask me how Obamacare has helped my family.

      by cosette on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:48:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Even in freakin' Idaho (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cosette, blueoasis, DBunn, semiot

      There are houses in Boise that sell for millions of dollars. And don't even get me started on Sun Valley/Ketchum.

      Yet there are only a handful of people who can actually afford this property- mostly from out of state, CEOs who may have a company here that they come to visit once in a while.

      And the rest of us? Nada.

      The rich know what they're doing. They're hoarding wealth. Once you get past nine digits, you really don't need any more money.

      But that's their past time. Just hoard as much money as possible.

      That's the plan. Own all of it. The houses, the streets, the businesses, the government. All of it.

      It's obvious.

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:02:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Since the Pendulum Has Swung Only In Their Dir- (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cosette, LeftHandedMan, katiec, semiot

    ection since the Beatles were still recording, the odds are high that the rich do understand.

    I mean aside from the fact that we have 45 years of position papers and speeches and planning documents outlining strategies to achieve power which they subsequently applied and which worked.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:38:02 PM PDT

  •  i just entered plutistan (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, MGross, Odysseus

    this year. Didn't even know it was a place. When do I get to start controlling the world?

    Still not sure if i'll have enough to send the kids to college or retire at 65. sometimes I think the planning would be easier if I came with an expiration date.

  •  It's human nature to always want more. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth, DBunn

    I'm not rich, but I have all of life's necessities and I'm sure as hell guilty of it. I see a fully restored 69 Camero or a BMW M3 and I end up day dreaming about owning one even though we already own two functional cars. Once upon a time when I was a teen I used to daydream about how I would have it maid if I only had any car, even a rust bucket. I play the powerball knowing I have a better chance of getting stuck by lightning.

    I'm fully guilty of always wanting more stuff, knowing there are billions of people who kill to have what I have, who daydream about just having something to eat.

    These aren't exactly flattering things for me to admit, but I believe in honesty.

    Please proceed, Governor.

    by USArmyParatrooper on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:54:33 PM PDT

    •  Psychology of wealth (0+ / 0-)

      I read somewhere that some large majority of people feel they would be happy if only they had 10% more income-- this regardless of the income level respondents were at when the question was asked.

      As a matter of pure logic, it seems like even if I were wealthy, it would be good to have twice that amount of wealth. That way, I could lose everything I now have, and still have everything I now have.

      But as soon as I achieve that level, I should want to double it again... for the same reason. Etc, etc. Once this psychology takes root, there is no logical place for it to end.

  •  The rich play a game, like the rest of us (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DBunn, FG

    Wealthy people aren't different than anyone else.  The context of their lives is what varies.  Bare with my upcoming analogy.

    Here at dkos, we have a kind of social structure in place.  We reward each other for understanding the governing rules surrounding this environment.  Certain words and phrases carry unique meaning withing this society.

    If we instead began spending our time rock climbing, we'd see a different social structure.  Certain habits in interactions or clothing choices would effect the way we function within that subculture.

    Well, capitalists are a subculture.  The motivations, which drive a capitalist, come from the society in which they live.  Money, power or charity are commodities within their personal world.

    They don't think in macro level consequence anymore than the rest of us.  We don't think about the coal burning to power our web browsers or the exploited worker running the plastic mold making the keys on our keyboards.

    Whether the evolved structure of the capitalist class is healthy is a far different question than you are asking.

  •  The Rich want what they always want (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth, cosette, DBunn, MGross

    The illusion of absolute personal safety and control their vast wealth gives them.

    The plan is simple.

    The more money I have, and the less restrictions on my wealth that I have, the more safe and secure and in control I am.

    When the rich get old enough that they realize that they are going to die too, they switch their complex to be about their heirs personal safety and control of the world around them via their wealth and power being unfettered.

    They don't have a plan for the rest of us.

    As far as they are concerned, we can live on Earth in peace and poverty, armed with the illusions of freedom and upward mobility, as long as we know our place and don't bother them or cost them money.  

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:58:35 PM PDT

    •  And lets not let the little guy off the hook (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DBunn, bygorry, doc2, semiot

      As a person who has been poor all of his life, and homeless four times in forty years, I've been knocking on the door of middle class, and trying to find a safe place to sleep at night out in the streets.

      I know poor people, I'm one of them.

      A lot of us vote against our own best interests.

      A lot of people vote for the Kochtopus' agenda because they want to believe the lie that, if they are just good shit-kicking serfs, the masters will trickle down the gold dust on them.

      "I can't vote to raise taxes on the rich, what if they retaliated by going Galt and refusing to make more money and profit in protest, or, or, what if I win the lottery someday?"

      Or they just hate somebody enough to sabotage their own lives. Lots of poor and middle class white people stupidly voted for Ronald Reagan for the trickle down fairy tale, but also because of his vile lies about young black bucks buying steak and lobster with food stamp money, or the bon-bon eating welfare queen who had legions of kids for a bigger welfare check.

      Voting for Ronald Reagan in 1980 as a blue collar Democrat was as much about who you resented as much as your wishful thinking about trickle down fairy dust.

      The Rich couldn't do what they do if a lot of poor and middle class people didn't drink the poison of wishing for better instead of actually trying to get it by making the OverClass unhappy, and hating people who don't look like them, and that they don't even know but are sure they are screwing them out of something that should be theirs, more than wanting better for themselves in life.

      I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

      by LeftHandedMan on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:09:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Kochs really are the prototypically (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "evil rich" people blame here. And people like that need tens of millions of poor and middle class people to vote for Republicans in order for them to have any real power. There aren't too many billionaires. But aside from some (not all) of the super-wealthy, a good plurality of rich people are liberals just like us and vote for Democrats reliably (even though that is bad for them from a tax perspective). 40% of people with net worths over $5M voted for Obama in 2012 (I don't have the citation but recall the stat). So you are right, it's not really "the rich" but the greedy rich and the millions who support their agenda with their votes.

  •  No Taxes on them,the rest of us tax tax tax!!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Just for starters.

    America, We blow stuff up!!

    by IndyinDelaware on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:09:02 PM PDT

  •  Springstein sums it up (5+ / 0-)

    in badlands:

    "Poor man wanna be rich
    Rich man wanna be king
    And a King ain't satisfied 'til he rules everything."

    art, love, music, real religion and a few more endeavors are workable counterbalances, and still a way off the ugly spiritual downspiral for some, but it's hard for many to step away from the pull of that vortex.

  •  Easy answer, they want more. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rustypatina, semiot

    'Cause your eyes are tired & your feet are too & you wish the world was as tired as you." - Lowell George

    by rasbobbo on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:30:25 PM PDT

  •  When you base your opinion of people on cartoons, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    you end up with extremely strange diaries. What do you envision? Everyone who has over a million gets a secret decoder ring?

  •  Don't fool yourself (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rustypatina, semiot

    the ruling class has very clear understanding of itself as a class, its class self-interests, and how those are to be maintained and advanced going forward.  To the question raised, do you really think they achieved hegemony spontaneously, without years of planning, investment, development and realization of those elements of a plan to achieve hegemony.

    Now that they have attained hegemony, now that there is no longer any counterbalancing social force against capital such as labor and socialism once provided, now that all potential and actual ruling parties in all significant countries are thoroughly imbued with the spirit of neoliberal global capitalism, they can begin including the possession of hegemony in their planning.  They can seek, in the words of a conservative American union leader, "More."  Their process is dynamic, not static, and their planning and execution will recognize and include that reality.  Expect them continuing to squeeze every last drop out for themselves, even more efficiently going forward.  Ever more precariously for the rest of us.

    "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" ~Dr. Samuel Johnson

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 11:53:19 PM PDT

  •  A plan for themselves, not for us so much (0+ / 0-)

    I think what the wealthiest are seeing is a mass generating of wealth worldwide that is partly reaching the lower classes.  But at the same time a variety of phenomena intensifying among the lower classes that diminish their ascent/competitiveness- destructive competition, excessive absorption with old scores and minor needs/vanities, limited gain in competences or deferring of them.

    You always have to remember that the wealthiest think, on pretty strong grounds, that the real and enduring difference between themselves and the poorer classes is one of competence: the greater collective stupidity and disorganization/selfsabotage of the latter.  

    So the present situation is not new despite containing seeds of a great change.

    My sense is that the general strategy of the wealthiest in the present is social passivity, is social withdrawal/pessimism and selfpreservation and waiting matters out to the extent possible.  There is a pretty horrible sorting out going on within the non-wealthy classes throughout the West and soon everywhere else according to physical and mental health and intelligence, and a necessary overall population reduction because the need for and value of manual labor has diminished so greatly and so fast.  The wealthiest have no desire to share the pain of that and there's little to force them to.

    The problem of the wealthy vs the poor is ameliorable to some extent via e.g. social democracy.  But fairly intractable in global realities in the next decade or two, in my opinion, simply due to the size of the gap and large numbers of the poor and globalization.  Things may be somewhat better within organized larger units, e.g. the U.S. or the EU.  

    I don't want to softpedal that economic inequality has nasty, cruel, awful, tragic, life-determining aspects.  These affect all of us, form the situations in which we all have to live.  We all wish it could be less harsh, less restricting of our options.   But maybe there's some solace to be found in the thought that in the greater picture of things it reflects a human or historical argument about competence.  The wealthiest are perhaps like bad school teachers- with authority and prone to dispense punishments we can't agree to, infuriating and withholding of rewards, and recognizably objectionable and stupid much of the time in many things.  Yet there are ways to win.  Some will try flattery and absolute subservience.  Others will try to discover the teacher's exploitable weakness and work it.  Yet others will try to wear him down with confrontations and arguments to lower the unrespectworthy and insulting standards by which he grades.  But the most successful strategy, also full of pain but the only one with permanence, is superior competence.  Is mastery of the subjects.

    A very painful, incremental, but real gain in competences by the non-wealthy seems to me the silver lining to the dark cloud.  That is what will close the gap over time.  

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