I don’t trust rich people. And I’m puzzled as to why so many Americans put their trust in the rich and look to them for protection and believe that the rich have the best interest of our nation and its resources.
Adam Smith who is widely regarded as the father of capitalism, stated categorically that someone must be taken advantage of in order for capitalism to work! His philosophy has been adopted in most of the modern world and capitalism thrives in some incarnation all over the world. Most industrialized countries with a very few exceptions rely on capitalist principles to drive their economies.
Ferdinand Lund author of the Rich and the Super-Rich revealed to the world that sixty American families control most of the wealth in the western world and care little or nothing for us little people the lumpen.
As a child of the activist 60’s, the knowledge that an elite group of predatory capitalist were responsible for the fate of the entire nation has shaped my political life.
I’ve tried to earn my living in the most benign way I can. I don’t buy sneakers that are produced by child labor in foreign countries. I don’t buy gold or blood diamonds because I know that oppressed workers toil in mines to unearth them. And I buy fresh produce because conglomerates that produce consumable food products are evil. My hands are not completely clean. I buy my televisions at Walmart.
I only wish other Americans were as thoughtful about how their spending impacts the rest of the world. Unfortunately, far too many of us envy the rich and powerful and desire to be wealthy no matter what it may take. The desire for wealth corrupts human souls.
Young men in our communities savagely murder each other and anyone that may posses something of value they may want. These days if they suspect you have something of value that they covet they break into your home or sneak up on you in the street and attempt to rob you. And then they shoot you.
I blame this “take no prisoner mentality” on the notion that one must obtain wealth at all cost. We know this because the media reminds us via the news, television and movies that “anything goes” when it comes to getting money. Bonnie and Clyde did it. Pablo Escobar did it. Bernard Madoff did it.
It doesn’t matter that all of them paid for their sins. The media portrayed their quest for riches as seductive and heroic. And many many impressionable Americans long to be like them.
Modern Captains of Technology like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg were ruthless in their quest for wealth no matter how benevolent they appear now that they have it. White collar capitalist skim and steal without remorse and rarely get prosecuted when caught. Through the media they whisper to the young “do whatever you need to do to succeed”. And the young are listening attentively.
The Great Divide — The disparity between the rich and the poor is much wider today than it was when The Rich and the Super-Rich was published in the sixties but no one hardly notices because even the poor have cable television, air conditioning units, cell phones, designer knock offs and automobiles.
We have been seduced into complacency.
As I sit in my large apartment in front of my flat screen television from Walmart sipping on my glass of Chardonnay, I harbor the belief that my comfortable middle last lifestyle is something I’ve earned because of years of labor for others. I try not to think that I’m a willing tool of the Military Industrial Complex. Some don’t think about it at all!
I realized a long time ago that resistance was futile and I had two choices: I could throw rocks at the system and face prison or premature death or I could work within “the system” and eek out a little credible change by my interactions with folks that might benefit from the things I’ve learned since my youth.
I’ve been an advocate for many years. And now I’m a griot. I only hope somebody’s listening. There’s a great deal at stake.