Or how equal societies are the best chance for your grandchildren. And how a greedy unequal society ruins it for them.
To explain this I take a radical point of view, by looking at the two extremes . The dictator’s grandchildren of the most unequal country on the planet on one side , the average Norwegian citizen on the other side. My theory being “The grandchildren of dictators are worse off than the average Norway citizen.” I called my theory the dictator trap.
Now that’s stunning isn’t it? We are talking big infamous dictators, after amassing billions of dollars as they typically do, killing and manipulation their way to the top,
Stacking dollars in Swiss bank accounts,.. after just 1 generation it turns out that the wealth is gone, or diminished to a level not good enough for their children to have a decent retirement in the USA, Europe nor Japan. For most of the children and grandchildren it’s even a burden to have the name of the dictator.
Striving for an equal society is a noble thing, but it has something of a naïve side to it. Most people think it’s better to just pull in ass much tosh as possible , and in the long run the children and grandchildren will benefit. It’s a desire to protect and build a kind of dynasty.
Now this isn’t true everywhere… The grandchildren will only benefit from those efforts if the society is equal. Therefor the society needs to resist and downsize the big fortunes that skew equality. A society can only take a small amount of inequality in order to keep everybody’s chances up, to keep everybody healthy and prosperous, and using their capacities fully.
If wealth gets in too few hands, it starts bending the rules and regulations in order to get jet more wealth and power in the hands of the few. In the USA today there is an unhealthy concentration of wealth in the making.
The feeling of the poor having the deck stacked against them is not just a feeling. Lucky for the USA the richest of the rich are well educated humanitarians and ready to spend on equality. For instance Warren Buffet is aware that gathering a family fortune is in fact a bad idea that skews freedom . Therefore he puts his money where his mouth is and will donate 90% of his heritage to the Bil and Melinda gates foundation. The introduction to this foundation on their website reads:
At the foundation, our people address the most challenging inequities in our region, our country, and the world, contributing their best on behalf of our global effort.( https://www.gatesfoundation.org )
So at least the 2 richest people in the USA are fully aware that it is in everybody’s interest to have an equal world. Including themselves , and certainly their offspring !
Now for the dictators, on the extreme end of inequality, who represent the pinnacle of selfishness and are in most cases no more than “kleptocrats” ,which is to say, rulers who exist to steal, and who maintain control by their theft. Dictators existed across the globe and across all cultures. They push the inequality to barbaric levels.
Aside the fact that detailing the dictators expenditures might be entertaining, and their acts come close or sometimes overshadow roman emperors cruelty and madness.
The most unequal countries today , the year 2017, are in order of living standards inequality, 1.Central African Republic, 2.Burundi, 3.Tanzania, 4.Syria,5. Rwanda.
The most equal countries being1. Norway, 2.Denmark, 3.Iceland, 4.Switzerland and 5.Finland.
So today that means ,( my “the dictator trap” theory ), Central African Republic dictators grandchildren are poorer than the average Norwegian. Now this is absolutely true!
The Central African Republic dictator was Jean-Bedel Bokassa,
Bokassa had 62 children. His children and grandchildren are very poor indeed, all they have left is a rat infested tumbledown ruin, of what used to be a presidential palace, about 50 miles from the capital Bangui.
The 62 children of the late emperor, once the elite of this country but now dressed in rags and inhabiting buildings on the palace grounds, are working with some government officials to change the empty palace into a tourist attraction”We are very poor. The palace is all we’ve got left, We think people would be interested to know how the emperor lived,” says Jean Mboma, a grandson of Bokassa.( from article in :By – The Washington Times – Saturday, July 21, 2001)
The average Norwegian has a net income of 3800$ a month, well ahead of what Jean Mboma has to spend. The average wage in Central African Republic is no more than 100$ a month. The offspring of Bokassa may have a little bit more than 100$ , but are no way near the Norwegians.
The dictator Bokassa himself enjoyed vast wealth , , golden throne, private jets, palace , a 50million dollar wedding,..
It’s a relieve to know that some economic laws are in favour of good behaviour and adjust very quickly.
In history inequality has been huge, and children of dictators often killed as soon as the dictator got overpowered. The children not even lasting a day longer than the dictator. An example of that is what happened to Caligula, a mad roman emperor. Caligula had one daughter. Her name was Julia Drusilla. When Caligula got killed on January 24 in 41 AD, She was just a year and half. She got killed later the same day, her head bashed against a wall.
It’s obvious that the countries with big inequality get involved in mass violence. The inequality in itself is violence. In Rwanda, 5th on the list of inequality, it was a big factor in the genocide.
When the poor are struggling and making a case for more help , they are eying the wealth of the few to help them out. The rich will be quick to label it ‘jealousy’ .
But for inequality to exist there are no good reasons. So, it’s not jealousy, it’s not a sin.
It’s rather a wish for peace and equality. Though rich people won’t sense it as a wish for peace… but as an attack on their wealth and defend it ruthlessly.
The rich should know better and give back to the country that made them wealthy. After all the rich only got so rich using inventions and infrastructure other people made. Most rich people didn’t invent nor build anything useful. So the rich should realise their fair share is limited.
However this is not a call for stripping people from their wealth. Just as much effort has to be made to protect rich people who made their fortunes in a fair way, we should respect hard working people and let them fully enjoy the fruit of their labour.
In the equal countries :
The average income is high. In order of equality: Norway 3405€,Denmark3.270€, Iceland3.568, Switserland 4.422€,Finland 2.509€. (source Eurostat, list of references : wikepedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_average_wage )
In the unequal countries:
The average income per person is extremely low. In order of inequality: Central African Republic 30€, Burundi 23€, Tanzania 75€, Syria20€, Rwanda 58€. : (https://data.worldbank.org/country/central-african-republic, calculated on monthly basis by annual GNI divided by 12)
An average Norwegian street with family houses.
Areal picture of what is left from the Palace of Mobutu in Gbadolite , notice the green dirt in the swimming pool, roofs on the palace missing, overgrown driveway, …. Courtesy picture commons wikimedia.*As a Belgian I had some stories to tell about Congo-Belgium and the inequality there as well, but I decided not to publish because it’s surprising how quickly discussions I had on the subject of inequality went sour. Congo is a sensible subject with Belgians and Congolese. The opinions on the subject were stereotyped , aggressive and bigoted. On both sides.
Equality in culture and religion.
Equality is part of an ideology. In some cultures equality is not a goal, quite the opposite. In India inequality is seen as part of life. Like a fact , you just need to suck it up and move on. It’s shocking to westerners to see how people live in the street, in cardboard houses, knowing the people living in there are expected to accept this situation as part of life. In Mumbai vast parts of the city are shantytowns. The government doesn’t bother making sure about sanitary installations or fire security. People living in these shantytowns are going to the toilet on the railroad tracks. In front of a hotel where I stayed near the gateway of India, people were living on the street claiming a couple of pavement slabs as ‘their pavement’. Everybody looks the other way, it’s a culture where the focus is on the self and how to “be”. In other words hedonism.
I never got why people go to India to have a religious experience of any kind. Especially if they stay in this mood after arriving and not seeing the local issues. The selfishness in hedonism, and lack of care for poor people in India is everywhere ,most notably in big cities. There’s no excuse and should be addressed by the Indian elite at once. For westerners , Chinese or any foreigner , it’s better to stay out of this because it will be considered mingling with Indian internal affairs.
When I was talking about these issues with Indians, they deny people are crapping on the railway, and have a whole explanation about those people living and dying while living in cardboard boxes on the street. For a rational westerner like me it’s impossible to get how Indian society truly works. The way things go seem to be satisfying to a lot of them though.
A little unequal is good.
Some level of inequality is necessary, because a model where equality is pushed to the extreme, doesn’t work. Communism doesn’t work. Communism is more about cutting down dreams than about lifting people up.
There has to be a difference in say people who work hard an those who don’t. Between someone who refuses to work or be productive and someone who studied hard and became surgeon. The scale of these differences are up for discussion. In the USA in the sixties the highest paying job in a company would be typically no more than 20 times the lowest paying job in the company.
Today its closer to 200 times , this difference is in most cases way too high and impossible to explain. Or at least not in a reasonable way involving merit.
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