By Robert Cosgrave
A new report newly minted billionaires was published by UBS – a Swiss bank favoured by the super-rich (and not one inclined to cast aspersions on its elite clients). It found that far from being ingenious “wealth creators” who deserve their gargantuan fortunes by virtue of their great ideas and money making prowess, most billionaires inherited rather than earned their wealth.
The ruling classes internationally like to present themselves as “self-made” superhumans, who owe every cent they have to their own hard graft and intelligence, with incidental assistance from anyone else – such as the “small loan” of $1 million Donald Trump received from his father when he was starting out.
The reality is very different from this increasingly ridiculous image they have cultivated for themselves. So why do they push this narrative? By masquerading as “wealth creators” the super-rich hope to hide the real origin of their wealth – exploitation; and the real role they play in society – that of parasites whose contributions to society are wholly negative.
The wealth in society is not conjured up by billionaires but by the labour of billions of working-class people. Under capitalism, however, the massive wealth created by workers is going towards the private enrichment of a small few who don’t work – they just own. And by owning the big shares in the big companies, they get to reap the big profits and payout – while the workers get shafted. Indeed, the shafting of workers is the essence of the profits and payout.
A drain on human potential
The expropriation of society’s wealth is a criminal injustice in itself, but so too is the waste. In the hands of billionaires, what happened to all this wealth? Look around even the wealthiest economies and you will see it isn’t going into schools or healthcare or public transport, and it certainly isn’t being invested in ways that would help to tackle the major crises we face – from pandemics, to hunger, to climate change. Rather, it is hoarded – going into Swiss banks and the like to stay safe for the billionaires and their offspring, or perhaps on whatever is in the Financial Times’s ‘How To Spend It’ section that week.
This waste and drain on our collective potential to make the world a better place will continue as long as capitalism rules the world. More and more wealth will be hoarded and passed down from one parasitic generation to the next, while conditions for the overwhelming majority on this planet become more and more intolerable.