Finally, a part of the 0.1% (those even more rich than the simple 1%) that understands history AND the human condition.
I have friends on both the liberal side of politics and on the conservative side. I have noticed that on both ends, there seems to be this complete ignorance that our current economic situation is nothing new. The rich have always tried to influence their government to allow them to keep the bulk of their wealth, and pay little to no taxes on it.
Even in feudal times, the taxes on the rich were more often than not passed on to the poor – with little or no money coming out of the hands of the aristocracy.
Now, on the other side of the coin, there has also always been SOME of the rich who felt a strong sense of noblesse oblige, which placed an obligation and duty on the rich to care for the poor. It is no different than Spiderman’s motto – with great power, comes great responsibility.
With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the rich began to assume that they had no obligation to those less fortunate than they. Exploitation of the poor was the agreed-upon activity of the robber baron capitalists.
It’s also the reason why the government stepped in and regulated businesses. The worst of the abuses, of paying for political power, ignoring the needs of that other 99%, these all were happening at the turn of the 19th just as much as they are happening now!
The reason why it keeps happening? Because after the government brings a halt to the exploitation, the rich wait a few years for the fervor against them to subside, and then start again. Behind the scenes – buying the government, bribing the very officials that are supposed to keep the worst depredations from happening, making a select few people into billionaires so that there are examples of “self-made men” or “bootstrap capitalists” to show the poor that supposedly they too can become rich and powerful.
No one seems to learn from history, because it happens again and again. Even the French Revolution didn’t really change much after the new government came to power, because they too became corrupted.
But, will our current masters learn from that history? Will they choose to regulate themselves, as the conservatives claim? Probably not. We’ve been trying it since the 1980s, and I don’t see that the exploitation has been curbed. I don’t see that the purchasing of politicians has stopped.
How many times must both the poor and the rich who understand history WARN against retaliation and revolution?