Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Transformation of the Super-Rich

Michael Parenti:

"[M]ost of the really big money is inherited--and by a portion of the population that is so minuscule as to be judged statistically inaccessible.

The higher one goes up the income scale, the greater the rate of capital accumulation. Economist Paul Krugman notes that not only have the top 20 percent grown more affluent compared with everyone below, the top 5 percent have grown richer compared with the next 15 percent. The top one percent have become richer compared with the next 4 percent. And the top 0.25 percent have grown richer than the next 0.75 percent. That top 0.25 owns more wealth than the other 99¾ percent combined."

The L-Curve:
Jeremy Seabrook:

"Perhaps the most astonishing obstacle to the removal of poverty from the world has been the transformation of the super-rich. These have ceased to be regarded as the greedy devourers of the substance of the poor, the ugly monopolists of resources: no longer the exploiters and bloodsuckers of 19th-century industrial lore, they have been turned into philanthropists, the virtuous possessors of fabulous fortunes, by whose grace and charity alone the dire poverty of the destitute will be relieved.

The world's richest individuals are now competitive even in their generosity. Lucre has been cleansed of its filth and plutocrats have become svelte. A residual antagonism may remain at the self-awarded emolumentsof fat cats but, in general, antagonism between rich and poor has been allayed by a shared commitment to the creation of wealth, in which the poor become pensioners of opulence and not its enemies.

It is impossible to overestimate the significance of this metamorphosis of the rich. It turns the poor from disputants over the distribution of wealth into petitioners for the overflow of abundance. In the process, it goes without saying, the poor have been demobilised from the struggle for social justice."


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