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20score

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Kevin O’Leary, Face of the Enemy? (It's great that 3.5 billion have as much wealth as 85 people.)

(Repost, with possibly a better title.)

Oxfam released a report on January 20, 2014 highlighting the income inequality gap and its associated problems. One fact from the report stands out as especially glaring. “The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.” This put some perspective on a problem that doesn’t get a lot attention in the main stream media. The full report can be read here.

While there was mostly outrage to this particular statistic, in some of the more callus corners of the planet the reaction was a little more surprising. While Ben Stein and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News agreed this was a moral issue and implied it may be wrong in some sense, they refused to say there was any connection to so much wealth being controlled by so few, and the destitution of so many. A problem with no obvious cause, and no ready solution. This take allows for a conscience to be soothed, while blocking the most obvious forms of correction, such as reversing the policies that made this inequality gap so vast in the first place. But so far, the prize for, as Keith Olbermann used to say, “The Worst Person in the World” would go to Kevin O’Leary, billionaire and horrible person. His reaction - “This is fantastic news. Of course, I applaud it. What could be wrong with this?... It inspires everybody to get some motivation to look up to the 1 per cent and say I want to become one of those people, I’m going to fight hard to get up to the top.” As if billions would stop starving and being lazy if they only knew they could be rich instead. That would be much better.

Society has a history of rallying around their heroes and rallying against their villains. Well, there is a villain ready-made to represent the worst of the incredibly wealthy, and his name is Kevin O’Leary. Greed, stupidity, cruelty, selfishness, you name it, and if it’s a bad quality representative of the worst of the powerful, Mr. O’Leary possesses it. If he had the power, he once said, he would throw union members in jail. This is a very bad thing for the wealthy if someone as easily detestable as Kevin O’Leary becomes the face the 1%. Because eventually something’s going to break and the scales will readjust. What form that readjustment will take is up to the powerful. Will it be peaceful or violent? Slow or abrupt? Sooner rather than later? We don’t know yet. But if the trends continue in the future as they have for the past few decades, it doesn’t bode well for those who have rigged the game in their favor.

When the economy gets bad enough and income inequality is obvious to those who are suffering, the people eventually demand action. In the United States during the Progressive Era and the 1930s, the action was relatively peaceful and political in nature. (With of course a smattering of strikers being killed and beaten by Pinkertons, National Guard and police in both eras, such as a 1902 coal strike in Pana, Illinois where 14 miners were killed and the 1937 Little Steel strike where police killed 10.) This of course is not always the case. The economy in Russia in the early 20th century was dismal and led (with other causes also playing a part) to revolutions in 1905 and 1917, which were much bloodier than what happened in the United States during the same time period. And the French Revolution is infamous for its bloodiness, also brought about by the many living without.


Hopefully the economy will become fairer in a peaceful, calm manner because people have woken up to the reality of what’s been happening. They will organize and demand political changes that brought about the emergence of the middle class during the 1930s and 1940s. We already know what to do; it’s just a matter of political will. That is by far the most preferred and likely outcome.

But if greed overtakes sense, (like it often does) and the few keep taking from the many the system will break violently. I really hope we’re smarter than that. But if we’re not, at least Kevin O’Leary will make us feel better about it.



http://crooksandliars.com/2014/01/kevin-oleary-extreme-income-inequality-0

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/oxfam-warns-davos-of-pernicious-impact-of-the-widening-wealth-gap-9070714.html

Kevin O’Leary Against the World. (You Say you Want a Revolution.)

Oxfam released a report on January 20, 2014 highlighting the income inequality gap and its associated problems. One fact from the report stands out as especially glaring. “The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.” This put some perspective on a problem that doesn’t get a lot attention in the main stream media. The full report can be read here.

While there was mostly outrage to this particular statistic, in some of the more callus corners of the planet the reaction was a little more surprising. While Ben Stein and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News agreed this was a moral issue and implied it may be wrong in some sense, they refused to say there was any connection to so much wealth being controlled by so few, and the destitution of so many. A problem with no obvious cause, and no ready solution. This take allows for a conscience to be soothed, while blocking the most obvious forms of correction, such as reversing the policies that made this inequality gap so vast in the first place. But so far, the prize for, as Keith Olbermann used to say, “The Worst Person in the World” would go to Kevin O’Leary, billionaire and horrible person. His reaction - “This is fantastic news. Of course, I applaud it. What could be wrong with this?... It inspires everybody to get some motivation to look up to the 1 per cent and say I want to become one of those people, I’m going to fight hard to get up to the top.” As if billions would stop starving and being lazy if they only knew they could be rich instead. That would be much better.

Society has a history of rallying around their heroes and rallying against their villains. Well, there is a villain ready-made to represent the worst of the incredibly wealthy, and his name is Kevin O’Leary. Greed, stupidity, cruelty, selfishness, you name it, and if it’s a bad quality representative of the worst of the powerful, Mr. O’Leary possesses it. If he had the power, he once said, he would throw union members in jail. This is a very bad thing for the wealthy if someone as easily detestable as Kevin O’Leary becomes the face the 1%. Because eventually something’s going to break and the scales will readjust. What form that readjustment will take is up to the powerful. Will it be peaceful or violent? Slow or abrupt? Sooner rather than later? We don’t know yet. But if the trends continue in the future as they have for the past few decades, it doesn’t bode well for those who have rigged the game in their favor.

When the economy gets bad enough and income inequality is obvious to those who are suffering, the people eventually demand action. In the United States during the Progressive Era and the 1930s, the action was relatively peaceful and political in nature. (With of course a smattering of strikers being killed and beaten by Pinkertons, National Guard and police in both eras, such as a 1902 coal strike in Pana, Illinois where 14 miners were killed and the 1937 Little Steel strike where police killed 10.) This of course is not always the case. The economy in Russia in the early 20th century was dismal and led (with other causes also playing a part) to revolutions in 1905 and 1917, which were much bloodier than what happened in the United States during the same time period. And the French Revolution is infamous for its bloodiness, also brought about by the many living without.


Hopefully the economy will become fairer in a peaceful, calm manner because people have woken up to the reality of what’s been happening. They will organize and demand political changes that brought about the emergence of the middle class during the 1930s and 1940s. We already know what to do; it’s just a matter of political will. That is by far the most preferred and likely outcome.

But if greed overtakes sense, (like it often does ) and the few keep taking from the many the system will break violently. I really hope we’re smarter than that. But if we’re not, at least Kevin O’Leary will make us feel better about it.
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