politics photography identity security psychology communication friends database hosting privacy dropbox macos stuff messaging github markdown tunisia brazil blot neurology photographers tags music history maps google self postprocessing snails misc vim social editor spreadsheets wifi art math hierarchy json bicycles geeky self-ignorance camus racism culture zabouti gradient costco windows gmail photos isp data democrats travel 1password fun philosophy neighborhood capitalism home nyc C1P economics peacecorps dynamic-range curves sharpening zones online-storage medical stories poetry color Lr from-the-back french beer hdr annotation photoshop opensource religion sensel records git books 60s openmeta apercus language
2020-02-23

2020-02-23-Billionaires

2020-02-2 Hate the sin, not the sinner

Wikipedia says there were 621 American billionaires in 2019. I took a quick look through the list to see if they’re all as evil as the leftists in my party seem to think.

I made a quick list:

I have a good impression of these billionaires

  • Bill Gates
  • Elon Musk
  • George Soros
  • Jim Goodnight
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Warren Buffett

I’m not sure about these billionaires

  • Jeff Bezos
  • Sergey Brin
  • Steve Ballmer
  • Larry Page
  • MacKenzie Bezos
  • George Lucas
  • Eric Schmidt
  • Mark Zuckerberg

I have a bad impression of these billionaires

  • Carl Icahn
  • Charles Koch
  • Larry Ellison
  • Rupert Murdoch
  • Sheldon Adelson

I haven’t decided about this billionaire

  • Michael Bloomberg

My takeaway

It bothers me to hear Bernie and Elizabeth demonize billionaires as if being one is some kind of character defect. Some billionaires do tremendous good and others terrible evil.

I imagine that most of them advocate low taxes on their wealth the way Bloomberg does, but that’s an effect of having that much wealth. Our personalities and values are affected by our circumstances even if we all like the illusion that we have some kind of true self”, a fixed set of values and morals that are unaffected by our friends, family, mob, class, wealth, ethnicity, sexuality, etc.

I generally agree with Elizabeth and Bernie that the rich skew our political process in ways that increase general suffering and inequality. But I don’t think that saying that wealth is a character defect is either very accurate or very helpful except perhaps to galvanize people on the left to hate the rich.

I think that the wealthy should be much more heavily taxed on income and accumulated wealth, not because they’re evil but because it gives these individuals too much power and deprives too many others of theirs.

I think that corporations should not have individual rights because that gives them too much power.

I think that some monopolistic corporations should be broken up in some cases because that gives them too much power to stifle competition, charge unreasonable prices and influence our political processes. (I think some monopolies, particularly regulated ones, do provide a benefit that only monopolies can provide.)

My $0.02


Previous post
Barry Saunders I went to Denise Allen’s exhibit this afternoon at the Carrboro Century Center, where Ms Allen gave a wonderful talk about her life and work. In the
Next post
Heather Cox Richardson on the Democratic nominating process 2020-03-05-Heather-Cox-Richardson source There is a lot of news about both the novel coronavirus and politics tonight, but I’m going to let it rest