Michael Moore recently posted a study regarding the distribution of wealth in the US. The study showed that the top 400 richest (actually wealthiest, rich would be an understatement) people in the US are worth as much as the bottom 50% of the population (153 million people). Put in simpler terms, the top 400 have a lot of money, a lot.
The important point here is the not the reprehensible outcomes of the capitalist system implemented in the US, but the rhetoric used when talking about such issues. Like I said earlier, the top 400 have “a lot” of money, and this is exactly the term used – or others that are remarkably similar – by others, including the professionals, when discussing these profligate few.
No one ever uses the terms “too much money”, “more than necessary”, or “money that will not run out even if they lead 50 extravagant lives simultaneously, in each baring 34 children and 98 grand children.” No one ever says that. Why? Is it shameful to admit that these people have more money than several countries combined? Yes it is actually, it is shameful. That’s why no one points it out.
Now, the top 400, according to the study, are worth $1.2 trillion. That’s an average, an average – emphasis is necessary – of $3 billion. Now, I personally know that the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are worth around $50 billion each. This is half the current GDP of the oil-producing region controlled by some fat dude with an incessant frown (including the South; and no I won’t mention the era before the oil because it’s embarrassing).
This, by anyone’s standards, is more money than necessary. I don’t blame them though, because honestly, people like Bill Gates can’t help the success of their business. So technically, even if he doesn’t want any more money, he’ll still receive it. But I will point out that their self-proclaimed altruism is infuriating. If you’re generous, you’d never be this rich. That’s a fact.
My problem is with leaders, dictators to be precise. Let’s say you’re a dictator, you’ve been president for decades, and you run the show. This automatically translates into an unfathomable accumulation of wealth.
So the wealth accumulated is from government funds, which, for a dictator, is his/her funds. But through our eyes it’s more like taking the people’s money, without their consent. Which is fine. Everyone does it.
So you feed off the country’s income, tax payer’s money, foreign aid, the whole shebang. Then, obviously, you adopt the trending nepotistic approach and get your whole family in the loot. By now your whole family, extended family and remote relatives are well off and on a feeding frenzy. Then you keep looting, or taking what’s yours, depending on how you look at it. But why?
Why would you still be abusing the country’s income if you’re probably by now the wealthiest man in it? Why? Let’s say you steal $2 billion – which is a meager amount compared to what current dictators are actually stealing – but you’re still president. This is more enough money for retirement.
Which begs the question, why would you still be in power? There’s no clear explanation to this phenomena, and yes it is a phenomena. I discredit all assumptions that power corrupts and the infamous saying by Abraham Lincoln that “Any man can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character give him power”.
I refuse to accept a psychological explanation for this matter, mainly because I think it’s an easy way out. There has to be another, more nuanced elucidation for this ineradicable hunger for power.
In all honesty, if I were a dictator, as soon as my Swiss bank balance reaches $100 million I’d abscond like my life depended on it.
Do consider this. What if, by accumulating power and wealth, dictators reach a level of unprecedented chauvinism? What if they are downrightly convinced that they are the chosen ones, the only ones capable of running their country, without a shadow of a doubt? It’s not that farfetched. Someone should look into it.