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Discussion #21 - Big Business / The 1%

The 1% are NOT evil, sadistic people! It's pretty pointless to demonize something that we all secretly (or not so secretly) want! It's not the people in charge of big business that are the biggest problem, they're just doing their job. It's the way the system is set up. It's not like CEO's & managers are sitting in their corporate towers, constantly conjuring up ways to rip off their workers. They are, however, obsessively concerned about the bottom line (it is their job to be). They will do pretty much anything to further this mission. It is also not necessary to completely overhaul our economies. Capitalism is (for the most part) an extremely good system. It just needs to be tweaked a little, in a few key areas.

The balance of power (influence over government legislation) must be shifted a little towards the low income/wealth end of the spectrum. The rich can do all the philanthropy they want, it won't even make a dent unless this happens. There is nothing illegal about what's going on (usually), it's just that big business (in essence) is making the laws (especially in taxation, mergers, labour, etc.). Large corporations are also gobbling up most of the market share, & then employing people who could have made vastly more in business for themselves.

Fixing this problem may sound simple, but it's actually going to be the second most difficult thing mankind ever attempts to achieve. Second only to saving our environment. The global economy is kind of like a freight train. Once it starts heading down a certain track, it's extremely difficult to change quickly. Also, the underlying driving force is still human greed, & this point will never change.

Many very rich individuals, however, are genuinely trying to make a difference. Warren Buffett (an investor) just announced that he is pledging to give away 99% of his wealth before, or just after he dies (& not to his family). He believes that his family should have enough to be able to do what they want, but not so much that they have to do nothing (very wise)! He also believes that this money (billions) will not change his family's lives virtually at all (they already have quite a bit), but will dramatically alter the lives of others in society. He has also recently been BEGGING the American government to tax him (& others) more, (since his employees are taxed at a much higher rate than he is!). There are many others like Warren, who believe in equality, even though they have succeeded (to the extreme) in this game called Capitalism.

Mark Zuckerberg (co-founder/CEO of Facebook) is 34 years old, & has a personal net worth of almost $78 billion (& rising fast). He has just announced his new mission to bring affordable internet access to the currently 3 BILLION PEOPLE (of 7.6 in total) who do not have it. I find this number a little shocking, but it really drives home the fact that 80% of the world's population is either poor, or extremely poor. The up-side of globalization, is that it is capitalizing on this massive potential work force. Their wages/opportunities are rising slowly. The western world just needs to figure out how to keep theirs from falling as a result.

Kids today (in our neck of the woods) are growing up with an incredible attitude of entitlement, as they are being brought up in an era where equality IS being taught in schools. The problem, is that the global economy is heading in the opposite direction (wealth gap is increasing). It's quite a shock for young people, when they finally hit the real world. However, young people are going to be in the driver's seat pretty soon, & I believe they are going to make this world a much better place.

Investors/shareholders are important & valuable players in our economies, but they are motivated to expect/desire a quick return on their investments. Therefore, companies are motivated to care about the short-term far more than the long-term. This is why the middle class is shrinking. Quick profits are what matter most, & few at the top care enough about the erosion of their biggest customer base, as this affects them later on down the road.
Discussion #21 - Big Business / The 1%

The 1% are NOT evil, sadistic people! It's pretty pointless to demonize something that we all secretly (or not so secretly) want! It's not the people in charge of big business that are the biggest problem, they're just doing their job. It's the way the system is set up. It's not like CEO's & managers are sitting in their corporate towers, constantly conjuring up ways to rip off their workers. They are, however, obsessively concerned about the bottom line (it is their job to be). They will do pretty much anything to further this mission. It is also not necessary to completely overhaul our economies. Capitalism is (for the most part) an extremely good system. It just needs to be tweaked a little, in a few key areas.

The balance of power (influence over government legislation) must be shifted a little towards the low income/wealth end of the spectrum. The rich can do all the philanthropy they want, it won't even make a dent unless this happens. There is nothing illegal about what's going on (usually), it's just that big business (in essence) is making the laws (especially in taxation, mergers, labour, etc.). Large corporations are also gobbling up most of the market share, & then employing people who could have made vastly more in business for themselves.

Fixing this problem may sound simple, but it's actually going to be the second most difficult thing mankind ever attempts to achieve. Second only to saving our environment. The global economy is kind of like a freight train. Once it starts heading down a certain track, it's extremely difficult to change quickly. Also, the underlying driving force is still human greed, & this point will never change.

Many very rich individuals, however, are genuinely trying to make a difference. Warren Buffett (an investor) just announced that he is pledging to give away 99% of his wealth before, or just after he dies (& not to his family). He believes that his family should have enough to be able to do what they want, but not so much that they have to do nothing (very wise)! He also believes that this money (billions) will not change his family's lives virtually at all (they already have quite a bit), but will dramatically alter the lives of others in society. He has also recently been BEGGING the American government to tax him (& others) more, (since his employees are taxed at a much higher rate than he is!). There are many others like Warren, who believe in equality, even though they have succeeded (to the extreme) in this game called Capitalism.

Mark Zuckerberg (co-founder/CEO of Facebook) is 34 years old, & has a personal net worth of almost $78 billion (& rising fast). He has just announced his new mission to bring affordable internet access to the currently 3 BILLION PEOPLE (of 7.6 in total) who do not have it. I find this number a little shocking, but it really drives home the fact that 80% of the world's population is either poor, or extremely poor. The up-side of globalization, is that it is capitalizing on this massive potential work force. Their wages/opportunities are rising slowly. The western world just needs to figure out how to keep theirs from falling as a result.

Kids today (in our neck of the woods) are growing up with an incredible attitude of entitlement, as they are being brought up in an era where equality IS being taught in schools. The problem, is that the global economy is heading in the opposite direction (wealth gap is increasing). It's quite a shock for young people, when they finally hit the real world. However, young people are going to be in the driver's seat pretty soon, & I believe they are going to make this world a much better place.

Investors/shareholders are important & valuable players in our economies, but they are motivated to expect/desire a quick return on their investments. Therefore, companies are motivated to care about the short-term far more than the long-term. This is why the middle class is shrinking. Quick profits are what matter most, & few at the top care enough about the erosion of their biggest customer base, as this affects them later on down the road.