Memo: From Nick Hanauer
“To: My Fellow Zillionaires
You probably dont know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industriesfrom itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor.
I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways Im no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans cant even imagine.
But lets speak frankly to each other. Im not the smartest guy youve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. Im not technical at allI cant write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?
I see pitchforks.
At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the countrythe 99.99 percentis lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.
But the problem isnt that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.
And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It wont last.
If we dont do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didnt eventually come out.”
This week it was announced in the USA that running water will be cut off to thousands of homes in the once prosperous car building city, Detroit, Michigan, because occupants can’t pay their bills.
Form one perspective that’s what you get for electing a cocaine addicted rent boy as your President because of the colour of his skin. From another it shows how far the USA has slipped from being the world’s richest and most powerful nation to being a third world shit hole where people struggle to get a drink of clean water.
We must make sure we don’t go the same way. What can we do? Oppose every move towards further integration with Europe and support decentralisation and repatriation of sovereign power.
Oppose corporatism as much as you can afford to by buying from independent shops, supporting independent businesses and avoiding wherever possible the shoddy crap sold by corporate retail chains and manufactured by fr eastern sweat shops owned by global corporations.
We are not yet as enslaved at Americans or the people of southern Europe but there a re plenty of people connected with the LabLibCon who would like us to be.
And if you want to know a reliable purveyor of pitchforks (made by a small manufacturer in Rotherham) just send me a personal message.
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