The richest 8 men in the world have as much wealth as the bottom 3.6 billion people on Earth.
That means 8 individuals have more power in terms of access to resources and power than half of humanity.
Supporters of capitalism will tell you these 8 men deserve what they have. They will tell you these 8 men earned their billions and that what they contribute proves their worth.
Ask yourself: Is that really true?
These 8 men are: Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Spanish fashion chain owner Amancio Ortega, investor Warren Buffett, Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helú, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg: tech executive Larry Ellison, and former New York major Michael Bloomberg, who founded a financial information service.
If these 8 men vanished from the face of the earth right now, wouldn’t our species survive just fine?
We all know the answer to that question: Of course we would.
Sure, computers are great. It’s nice to find presents for our loved ones on Amazon. It’s pretty fun to keep up with old friends on Facebook.
But to suggest we wouldn’t be able to survive without these things is absurd. And furthermore, the suggestion that these 8 people are SO important to the planet that they deserve more resources and half of ALL of us isn’t just absurd. It’s wrong.
It’s The System
But the problem – the real problem – isn’t with these 8 men. It’s the system that creates them and allows them to have more power than the rest of us put together.
The system is capitalism.
Let’s say that these 8 men decided to give 90 percent of their wealth away. The problem wouldn’t be solved. The system which gave them their wealth and power would still exist and would – eventually – create another tiny number of individuals which would hold unimaginable sums of money and power.
Capitalism as a system requires everyone to always seek more money. An individual capitalist – business owner – could decide not to operate based on constantly making more money than the year before. That capitalist would go out of business at some point.
Capitalism’s defenders and those who like to suck up to the rich like to pretend this system is a force of nature and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. But here’s the thing: This system is based on how we as human beings set up our society and treat each other. We can decide – collectively as a species – that we want to do something else.
The trick is, we have to build our society and institutions in a new way. That way would be completely different than what we have now. But it IS possible. We CAN build a society where everyone has food, shelter, healthcare, warmth, fun, education and cultural and creative opportunities.
As you know, we have a number of challenges to get there. First, all of us who struggle to make it every day have to start working together. We have to get together, talk, share, think and plan. The capitalist system works us and leaves us tired and then pacifies us with television and junk entertainment. Making the effort to reach out to each other and imagine together is the first step.
Secondly, the rich really, really don’t want to lose their power. So they’ll do what they always have done: Use every trick in the book to make us fight against each other based on race, nationality, religion, language, whatever – as long as we’re battling each other and not them.
This is also true across the world. Those of us who struggle to pay our bills, keep going every day have plenty in common with those battling the same issues in other countries. You have more in common with someone trying to make ends meet in Syria, Mexico or Greece than you do with Donald Trump.
Also, the rich will use every propaganda tool they have to make you think you that there are no other options than playing by their rules. They’ll tell you any system that doesn’t make them the center of the universe is doomed to fail, just like the kings and queens of feudalism did.
But these obstacles will be nothing if those of us who struggle start working together. A new era can be ours. We merely have to be willing to believe a new world is possible.
So whose side are you on? The side of the 8 men and their brown-nosers? Or the person struggling beside you?