More on Bernie’s book.
I learned yesterday that Jeff Bezos – Amazon founder and owner has around 17 billion dollars in the bank. In 2022 Amazon paid no Federal Income Tax.
I wrote that sentence, wondering how many zeros equated to 17 billion, then checked the number and saw he has 170 billion.
What’s a zero between friends?
If you were to travel 170 billion miles, you could fly around the world 6,827,035 times or take a round trip to the moon 355,797 times. (I could fly to Iceland two hundred million times) (that’s a lot of air-miles) (a lot of time spent at airport security).
Tomorrow the UK junior doctors are striking.
(As an aside, I am calling them ‘junior doctors’ because that is what the media and the BMA are calling them. Traditionally, I have called this group, ‘trainees’ as I don’t like the junior connotation – when I was a younger consultant (aka, senior doctor) there were some juniors older than me which seemed odd. Nowadays that doesn’t happen.)
I’ll come back to this shortly.
First, I thought I would talk about greed, the very, very rich and conspiracy theories.
If you Google top-ten conspiracy theories, you get –
- Holocaust denial
- JFK assassination
- Diana’s death
- 9/11 an inside job
- The moon landings didn’t happen.
- Global warming
- The Elders of Zion
- Covid and 5G
- Obama as a non-American/Muslim
I am sure ‘flat earth’ is in there somewhere and I couldn’t tell you how many people believe the above to be true or false (I suspect the majority live in the Southern United States).
I don’t take any of them although, yes, JFK was fishy.
I’m not getting at these theories – you might call them the wacky ones, no, I am going for the mundane, such as the Tory plan to privatise the NHS and the general global aspiration for the rich to become richer.
The former is more niche to the UK; the latter is a growing global phenomenon.
Each second, the rich (that is anyone upwards of the ‘one percent’) pull further away from everyone else in the money in their accounts, their privilege, their life experience, access to education, healthcare, and general ease of existence.
You could argue that this is just the way of the world.
There have been rich and poor since the dawn of time.
And yet, there is an argument that for whatever reason, now, the rich have the upper, upper hand.
There is a general manipulation of the democratic process towards skewing elections in the direction of parties that will support the wealthy. (Social media has been a gift to facilitate this process).
In the UK, we had Jeremy Corbyn, aspiring to nationalise various private industries, in the US you have Bernie, a proud socialist.
I am not as familiar with the slurs directed at Bernie. Corbyn has been called all things, the one that most sticks, as being an antisemite. (Not anti-semite) KK.
Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about any of this to give you a representative opinion, one that you could use in an argument, ‘Rod said///’ kind of thing – please don’t blog about my blog as if it is fact, I am however sure that the current political system is designed to, yes, make the rich richer.
In the USA, rich people, their corporations, Super-PACs, support both the Republican and Democratic parties at the same time. They hedge their bets, in order that whoever is in power is in their pocket.
The same I am sure, happens in the UK.
Thinking back to tuition fees for students – how did they get away with that? Student Loans? I fell for that one although not as deeply as today’s young.
The systematic underfunding of the NHS has led to a massive increase in private healthcare in the UK. Who benefits? Yes, the very rich folk who either own the private healthcare providers or the less rich who own shares.
Every year since 2010, the NHS has downsized; the government has announced more investment in the service when there have been cuts.
Every year, Cost-Improvement Plans, called CIPs increase, these are strategies hospitals require to stay functional to avoid falling afoul of the regulator, every year, despite growing demand, there is less resource.
Shouldn’t we be getting healthier? Hasn’t science, technology and the medical world led to improvements in our wellbeing? Not really. We did get better until a certain point and then, over the past five years our health has been failing. Our society is becoming sick. Inequality leads to those diseases of despair I mentioned yesterday – depression, anxiety, addiction, obesity – even cancer, linked through upregulated cortisol production are increasing.
At a time when we have never been more productive, people have never had it so bad.
I used to think this was a reasonable calculus.
In my head, I had understood that the plateauing of my life experience was OK as the world was getting more equal. I don’t know where I got this notion. (Steven Pinker I think). The reality is that inequality is growing. Wealth is concentrated in the offshore bank accounts of the very few.
There is no reason why the very wealthy do not pay more tax.
And this is part of the conspiracy that is real.
It is a fundamental of the business model of the extremely wealthy.
Government policies don’t happen by chance, multi-millionaires don’t become politicians accidentally; just as with the strategies inherent in the companies running our world – Apple, Microsoft, Walmart, Amazon, BP, Shell, etc, etc, there are strategies whereby it is determined how to make the world more favourable to their relevant interests.
This might be seen as a reasonable approach were the increased funds being given to those working for the companies, yet, this isn’t the case, many pay minimum wages with poor terms and conditions as the profits are sent to the top.
This is the conspiracy.
Is it real?
I don’t know.
Bernie thinks so.
It’s odd that Jeremy Corbyn is being de-selected.
When was the last time I heard of this happening?
Is it because he hates the Jews and supports the Palestinians?
Is it because he sees the writing on the wall?
At least in the UK we don’t have the excessive levels of campaign spending as in the US; and yet, everyone is influenced.
Yes, I think Labour and Starmer are less influenced than the Tory; (OK, I know), yet will they redistribute the wealth?
Labour is on track to win the next election. The Tories have screwed our society more than any other government at any time in our history. Neville Chamberlain is likely lying in his grave thinking, ‘Sure, I sidled up to Hitler, you guys got Brexit done. Respect.’
And the doctors.
I don’t think they are being greedy.
I like the audacity of asking for a 30% raise in pay.
Equally, I can’t see it happening. Not because there is not the money (didn’t the UK commit to spending five billion pounds on the military a couple of weeks ago?) it is the underlying philosophy of austerity that would not be consistent.
We can’t say, there is not enough, tighten your belts at the same time as saying there is enough (or more than enough).
The enough must be kept quiet and funnelled upwards, bypassing those who have done the work towards the landed gentry (the fox hunters) and the like. They are the ones who need to expand their bank accounts, purchase a bigger estate in New Zealand (climate change insurance) or bag the next ticket to the moon.
Has this been a rant?
Has this been ill-defined?
I think. Yes.
Don’t blame me. I am only the messenger.
Within all of this, I think of the wealth trap (you know, the notion that the more money you have the more money you need), most people don’t get the opportunity to fall into this trap, maybe that is the intention of the tabloids and the mainstream media. It is to save people from themselves.
Better you should have too little, then you will always be grateful.
PS 170 billion is, 170,000,000,000.
That is a lot.