How did the wealth of the 151 richest people grow by 10% of GDP when the economy grew only 1.5%? Mostly by revaluing existing assets. Not a lot of ‘wealth creation’ from our self-appointed Randian Heroes, just book changes. But, apparently, we owe everything to the elite and need to let them suck up more of our wealth for themselves.
NBR calls them ‘national treasures’. Without them, we wouldn’t produce anything because there wouldn’t be any businesses. Well, there would still be the labour, and yes the capital would still be there if our capitalists were to fly but without that little bit of ineffable magic that the rich listers provide, it would all mean nothing. You could try to go to work and create value but, without the ‘wealth creators’, you would just end up walking around in circles, banging listlessly into office equipment while the capital would literally fall apart around you.
The thing that gets me about the ultra-rich is that enough is never enough for them. They constantly want to own more, a bigger share of the pie (we know that it’s actually the Left that ‘grows the pie’ the best).
There’s two ways an elite can rule: as part of society, dependent on the wellbeing and contentedness of the rest of society for their own wealth and security – the ‘rising tide lifts all boats’ philosophy – or, as vampire-like aristocrats totally divorced from the needs of the vast bulk of people, seeing them as prey in the hunt for greater wealth for themselves.
How do you think our elite govern? It’s pretty clear from the fact that, when it’s announced that the average rich lister has a third of a billion of wealth, the response is to demand more favourable regulation and tax cuts that would take away the rights and public services of most people in favour of the elite:
Michael Hill the jeweller, who is reportedly worth $245m, asked: “Could not the government give us a little freedom to make commonsense decisions for ourselves?” Sir Patrick Higgins, whose family is said to be worth $100m, says: “The country needs to address excessive regulation if it is to improve wealth creation.”
This is, let us remember, the country that is rated one of the very most free in the world, that has experienced a huge increase in crime, poverty, and health problems as a result of the neoliberal revolution that made the elite so unbelievably wealthy. And their response, with homourable exceptions like Sam Morgan and the owners of Less Mills is to demand more.
Of course, nothing would ever be good enough for them. A vampire’s hunger is insatiable. As Anthony Hubbard puts it:
The fact is that the greed of most wealthy people is literally infinite. There is never a point at which they would say: Yes, taxes are low enough now. We are happy to pay. If the Business Roundtable had managed to persuade the government to reintroduce serfdom, its members would still grizzle about the quality of the peasants.