Friday, September 14, 2007

Das Kapital 2007 by Shane Christensen

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Yesterday (after I followed my usual morning routine of firing up the computer and kettle) I settled in to read the Eastern daily news/blues and was thrilled to read about Canada’s latest batch of billionaires. Finally, a news item to put a smile on my face.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have no ideological/anti-capitalism argument to present someone for being a billionaire. It is a major accomplishment that the vast majority of the human race will never realize. It’s impressive!!!

But after reading several bios and histories accompanying an individual or family, I was back to my cynical self; belittling their success with my ‘That’s not fair! They inherited it!' dismissive attitude.

My bone of contention - the one which stood out the most was the sheer amount of wealth these individuals had in their possession. It was mind boggling. I’m not going to name names or anything because I’m intimidated by billionaires. (They may actually have the means to make me poorer than I already am.) But, come on... does anyone need more than a billion dollars in petty cash?

A majority of the names on the list inherited their wealth, and thus, were born with the proverbial ‘silver spoon’ in their mouths. As a result of spoon placement, they merely fell into their position of living royally. Is it outrageous for the average tax paying Canadian to ask for a type of a cap, or inheritance ceiling,be attached to much money one could amass? (Within reason, so the outrageously rich do not become too upset?)

Aha - a great proposition that would garner an unprecedented number of Yay votes if we put it to a referendum worded as follows:

Once an individual’s accumulated wealth exceeds the billion dollar mark, all further accumulated monies would be redirected to a For the Greater Good petty cash account. The monies in this account would be divvied out in lottery fashion to fellow Canadians citizens in increments of, let’s say… one million dollars.

Of course there would be rules and restrictions, such as... To be a recipient of a For the Greater Good bursary, one must be a law abiding, tax paying, productive member of society who has never carried the ‘wealthy’ title. We could define a person who is ‘wealthy’ as being one whose bank account contains a million dollars.

I greatly respect the free market capitalist system and would never think of undermining it. However, unbridled greed is like bad plumbing. Too much concentration of wealth at one level is simply going to clog the pipes of free enterprise, and that's not good for anyone. Even billionaires.

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