The rich have inherited the earth

Do you remember when everyone was migrating to Silicon Valley, the drawing card for technology nerds? The braggarts from the valley were abruptly told to move over for Bill Gates who became the power to be reckoned with. So Bellevue, once a suburb of Seattle, claims the richest man in the world. As a feminist I wonder if that means there might be a woman who is richer still. Reminds me of NASA that claimed to have an unmanned space vehicle. I wrote to NASA asking, “If it is unmanned does that mean that a woman is at the helm?” They were not amused.

Getting back to being rich--any economy that allows one human being to cream off billions in profits isn’t democratic. That’s like it was in my home town when the richest man was the local banker and the queen of society was his wife. They were well-to-do enough to dominate my home town—even earmarking their church donations for certain pet projects such as painting a mural on the wall of the social hall. Bill Gates has upped the ante of donations. His billions in excess profits are siphoned through a foundation which only this foundation can dole out. The rest of us are out of the loop on this one. Donating billions to the poor in countries that keep people subservient is like pouring liquid money into a sieve where there is no expectation of ever filling the vessel. Hunger never disappears.

The problem in making change to benefit all of humankind is that we secretly all want to be rich. We envy Bill Gates and when anyone badmouths his taking billions in profits they come back with, “He does so much good in the world.” And so the system is safe from anyone who would dare to try and change it. Those speaking out for change are labeled any name that will render them off limits in our society. First it was Communist but when the USSR dissolved into a capitalistic society, we only had Bin Laden to hate. After the right leaning fundamentalist steamroller came into being the C word turned into the L word. If you wanted to climb the ladder in the ultra-conservative leaning hierarchy you could never hint at being a liberal

The pendulum has at last swung back from extremists on the right. Politicians have learned that no matter what party is in power, the corporations remain the base of such power. No longer is the individual the basis of our democracy. Corporations sprawl all over the world without needing a visa to cross borders. There were no demonstrations in the streets when rich corporations reduced jobs in this country in order to make more profits by using non union labor overseas and bypassing the U S labor pool.

Most people would say, “It has always been thus.” So evidently we must be resigned to our fate in a world where the economy shines on the rich and famous. But a closer look at history will show that when the have-nots finally have had enough, they revolt. Numerous empires have been overturned by those who have rebelled when there wasn’t anything more to lose. Now that global warming is a scientific reality and unilateral warmongering is out of favor, the ninety-nine percenters have finally figured out who is skimming off the profits at their expense. Will there be enough people who “get it” to change things this time around or will the mega media corporations once more be able to badmouth those who are marching for change and level their efforts? It will be interesting to see how it all pans out.

Georgie Bright Kunkel is a freelance writer at 206-935-8663

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