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The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats - Says Billionaire

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http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014.html#.U63Q2rEgI79

moneybadge2.pngMemo: From Nick Hanauer
To: My Fellow Zillionaires

You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. In 1992, I was selling pillows made by my family’s business, Pacific Coast Feather Co., to retail stores across the country, and the Internet was a clunky novelty to which one hooked up with a loud squawk at 300 baud. But I saw pretty quickly, even back then, that many of my customers, the big department store chains, were already doomed. I knew that as soon as the Internet became fast and trustworthy enough—and that time wasn’t far off—people were going to shop online like crazy. Goodbye, Caldor. And Filene’s. And Borders. And on and on.

Realizing that, seeing over the horizon a little faster than the next guy, was the strategic part of my success. The lucky part was that I had two friends, both immensely talented, who also saw a lot of potential in the web. One was a guy you’ve probably never heard of named Jeff Tauber, and the other was a fellow named Jeff Bezos. I was so excited by the potential of the web that I told both Jeffs that I wanted to invest in whatever they launched, big time. It just happened that the second Jeff—Bezos—called me back first to take up my investment offer. So I helped underwrite his tiny start-up bookseller. The other Jeff started a web department store called Cybershop, but at a time when trust in Internet sales was still low, it was too early for his high-end online idea; people just weren’t yet ready to buy expensive goods without personally checking them out (unlike a basic commodity like books, which don’t vary in quality—Bezos’ great insight). Cybershop didn’t make it, just another dot-com bust. Amazon did somewhat better. Now I own a very large yacht.

But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.

But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.

And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.

If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.

More at the link, continues for several pages.

Will the 0.1% want to put some of their wealth back into play?

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This is interesting. He's right in a way, but the instruments of repression are more numerous and more sophisticated than anything in past history. How successful those with pitchforks can be against this is the question.

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I'm not unique, assuming there are like minded 'me' about then there will be a cull of billionaires and bankers in the near future. Not to mension the 'rag heads' whould would like to take down many of the 0.1%.

History has proven that wars start when the global 1% can't extract any more wealth and start on each other. Wee will see what happens first. Generation Y'ers getting their own back or johnny foreigner blowing the shit out of them. Personally I would rahter Johnny did the dirty work, then the shit the UK & US establisment has put them though I would expect them to be a little more motivated.

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This is interesting. He's right in a way, but the instruments of repression are more numerous and more sophisticated than anything in past history. How successful those with pitchforks can be against this is the question.

+1 to this.

Funny thing is we are paying for it! War on terror is like buying a dog and a whip for your slave master and then giving him steroids to make him strong. We are a bunch of pathetic saps and deserve to be ground underfoot for eternity.

They have no signals because of the omnipresent surveillance state, with it's draconian punishments for the smallest civil disobedience. When it blows is going to be massive. Like drag your neighbour out into the street and hack them to pieces massive. :ph34r:

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My memories of playing board games as a kid is that they almost always blew up before the end because at some point one player accrued so much advantage that the other kids just got tired of losing and walked away from the board before the game actually finished.

If free market capitalism does not work for the majority it will be replaced with a different game- not better - just different.

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My memories of playing board games as a kid is that they almost always blew up before the end because at some point one player accrued so much advantage that the other kids just got tired of losing and walked away from the board before the game actually finished.

If free market capitalism does not work for the majority it will be replaced with a different game- not better - just different.

and if you look around the world, that's exactly why islam is so popular amongst the dispossessed. Don't just see it as what the BBC/Sun/Sky/Foxnews report it as, it's a reaction against western corporate capitalism, not western culture. You and others might regard yourselves as loosing out in the big board game because you can't buy a house at a sensible price, but for the rest of the world, who don't have the internet, clean water, basic human rights (half the population of the world haven't even made a phone call) even the poorest in the west, have a standard of living and security that puts us in the category of Aristocracy, in a French Revolution scenario.

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You have adopt the billionaire mindset just to put food on the table these days.

Algorithm

1. Ask will this make me a billionaire ?

Yes go to 2.

No go to 3.

2. Proceed until next juncture. Go to 1.

3. Do not proceed. Choose another option go to 1.

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You have adopt the billionaire mindset just to put food on the table these days.

Algorithm

1. Ask will this make me a billionaire ?

Yes go to 2.

No go to 3.

2. Proceed until next juncture. Go to 1.

3. Do not proceed. Choose another option go to 1.

Even is 50% of the ultra rich understood these risks, and wanted to pay their staff a high wage, etc etc, all that would happen would they would lose out to those willing to undercut them. Those 'bad billionares' would then end up with more money. Meaning they can drive out the competiton over time via capital buy outs, or lobbying.

The only solution is an educated population that refuses to vote for (example : UK) LIBLABCON who support policies which impoverish the 99%.

Sad thing is, humans are basically dumb and greedy. This will only end in tears.

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and if you look around the world, that's exactly why islam is so popular amongst the dispossessed. Don't just see it as what the BBC/Sun/Sky/Foxnews report it as, it's a reaction against western corporate capitalism, not western culture. You and others might regard yourselves as loosing out in the big board game because you can't buy a house at a sensible price, but for the rest of the world, who don't have the internet, clean water, basic human rights (half the population of the world haven't even made a phone call) even the poorest in the west, have a standard of living and security that puts us in the category of Aristocracy, in a French Revolution scenario.

Yes indeed. Anyone who has relative security, a roof, regular food, an income that outweighs outgoings, running water and a secure personal space to sleep at night (apart from maybe having to share that with a significant other :)..) is rich, in fact very rich but of course we often do not feel that.

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This is interesting. He's right in a way, but the instruments of repression are more numerous and more sophisticated than anything in past history. How successful those with pitchforks can be against this is the question.

The instruments of repression are always the same: working class men wearing uniforms (police, army etc) who are sent to crack open the heads of people who look just like them and who only want food and a place to live. The rate limiting step is how long it takes the men in uniform to feel bad about doing this.

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Yes indeed. Anyone who has relative security, a roof, regular food, an income that outweighs outgoings, running water and a secure personal space to sleep at night (apart from maybe having to share that with a significant other :)..) is rich, in fact very rich but of course we often do not feel that.

This is a classic statement of Western materialism, and it's also completely false. Human beings are social animals. Society doesn't function without social bonds such as empathy, mutual respect etc. Of all the social animals only humans are stupid enough to think you can have none of that and still be very rich so long as you have a flat with running water and electricity and a fridge full of food.

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http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014.html#.U63Q2rEgI79

More at the link, continues for several pages.

Will the 0.1% want to put some of their wealth back into play?

well they'd better come up with something better than demeaning pantomimes like "hidden cash"

in essence though, he is exactly right.

the most effective "capitalist" societies are based on quaker principles....meaning it's ok to make a profit, but ALL of the people in the team contributing take a share of the proceeds.

Having said that, there is also the thing of No Free Lunch,if you don't perform well you don't get the goodies( which is where the commies fall down, as they believe everything is an entitlement and a right, which it isn't)

at the moment we have a kind of hell-spawn hybrid between big state(paid for by big corporates and lobby groups...adjusting the laws to suit THEIR needs and wants, and to pull up the drawbridge to stifle any competition., and not for the community at large).

neither big corporatism or big statism is a sustainable model.

both go stale.

it's much like life, but they are in denial that they too will grow old one day, and be removed by a healthier specimen.

another point, he is spot on when he says the pitchforks are coming, but it won't be for the reason(ie protocols of zion style) to forcibly redistribute their goods....that is marxist thinking(and highly based on the proviso that the assailants are materialist)

..it will be because the people are sick of the corruption and see them as a plague, so just want them dead.

they've got some hard choices to make now, the game IS up.

no more monopoly, the people are getting tired of playing.

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Err throughout the history of the UK there has always been oppression of the masses. The nearest we got to a revolution was Cromwell and 1000s of surfs got butchered then only to end up with pretty much the status quo.

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Even is 50% of the ultra rich understood these risks, and wanted to pay their staff a high wage, etc etc, all that would happen would they would lose out to those willing to undercut them. Those 'bad billionares' would then end up with more money. Meaning they can drive out the competiton over time via capital buy outs, or lobbying.

The only solution is an educated population that refuses to vote for (example : UK) LIBLABCON who support policies which impoverish the 99%.

Sad thing is, humans are basically dumb and greedy. This will only end in tears.

or and educated pupulation that refuses to either buy goods from, or work for companies that do not provide adequadely for their staff.

..hit them in the pocket, and name and shame the worst.

loss of influence and revenue concentrates the mind wonderfully for these guys

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If billionaires and the one percenters gave away most of their money or every worker got a big % pay rise would it actually help? The house prices wouldn't be any lower. Oil wells wouldn't be producing any more oil and farms wouldn't be producing more food. The excess consumption by the one percenters is negligible.

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This is a classic statement of Western materialism, and it's also completely false. Human beings are social animals. Society doesn't function without social bonds such as empathy, mutual respect etc. Of all the social animals only humans are stupid enough to think you can have none of that and still be very rich so long as you have a flat with running water and electricity and a fridge full of food.

I agree, the greatest threat are people that work collectively in harmony with power and strength together with the same ultimate purpose and goals.....

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They don't need all those billions, lets face it, there are only so many houses, planes, yachts you can have. What their money gives them is power and control and it massages their egos. The billionaires could completely get rid of most poverty in the world if they wanted without spending most of their money. They don't. Why? Because the main reason that they are billionaires is that they have screwed over a lot of people to become that way (sociopaths). You can't get rich purely by being altruistic, you have to take advantage of people and play dirty against your competitors.

What is happening is that these billionaires are buying up countries so countries and their people are becoming corporate commodities to be bought and sold like goods. People are no longer seen as individuals but cattle, milked for what they are worth and then sent to the slaughter. They can buy off national governments by contributing to campaigns and they can pay for favourable laws and tax systems.

At the moment there is a slight pretence that they care about morality but the richer they get and the more power goes to their heads, the less they will pretend to care. We truly are going backwards towards a feudal society and all the enlightenment values are going to disappear very quickly. The world is turning into Orwell's 1984.

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This is a classic statement of Western materialism, and it's also completely false. Human beings are social animals. Society doesn't function without social bonds such as empathy, mutual respect etc. Of all the social animals only humans are stupid enough to think you can have none of that and still be very rich so long as you have a flat with running water and electricity and a fridge full of food.

Do not put words into my mouth. I imagined it should go without saying we need social bonds, etc etc. You assumed when I said rich I meant only in material ways. When I say security it doesn`t mean just physical security, it means security in all ways, and one of them of course is a feeling of belonging in a community for instance. To counter what you accused me of suggesting though, I would say that only having company, showing and receiving empathy, along with social bonds etc etc, yet having no financial & physical security is absolutely not enough and its a simplistic view indeed. That really is an classic narrow minded view from a person who is rich..of course I am not suggesting for one minute you live a life of financial security as you seem to have such empathy with poverty. I haven`t disseminated the word poverty..you are free to interpret it anyway you deem fit :)

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Do not put words into my mouth. I imagined it should go without saying we need social bonds, etc etc. You assumed when I said rich I meant only in material ways. When I say security it doesn`t mean just physical security, it means security in all ways, and one of them of course is a feeling of belonging in a community for instance. To counter what you accused me of suggesting though, I would say that only having company, showing and receiving empathy, along with social bonds etc etc, yet having no financial & physical security is absolutely not enough and its a simplistic view indeed. That really is an classic narrow minded view from a person who is rich..of course I am not suggesting for one minute you live a life of financial security as you seem to have such empathy with poverty. I haven`t disseminated the word poverty..you are free to interpret it anyway you deem fit :)

I think the point is we largely don't have mutual respect, empathy, social bonds that extend beyond our close social circle, etc, any more. Just take a look at the rise of the precariat and all the ways that younger generations are getting scr*wed over and it seems evident that these things are dead or dying. We are socially impoverished and that is why relative material wealth can't make us feel rich. Further to that there are many who don't feel particularly secure in relation to their accomodation, food supply (hence the rise of foodbanks), income (especially in relation to outgoings given debt levels and payday lenders), etc and therefore also don't feel any relative material wealth because what they do have, however rich in comparison to the rest of the world, is continually at threat of being lost.

Edit: Sorry Dorkins if I've misinterpreted your point, that's just what I think about the situation.

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Do not put words into my mouth. I imagined it should go without saying we need social bonds, etc etc. You assumed when I said rich I meant only in material ways. When I say security it doesn`t mean just physical security, it means security in all ways, and one of them of course is a feeling of belonging in a community for instance. To counter what you accused me of suggesting though, I would say that only having company, showing and receiving empathy, along with social bonds etc etc, yet having no financial & physical security is absolutely not enough and its a simplistic view indeed. That really is an classic narrow minded view from a person who is rich..of course I am not suggesting for one minute you live a life of financial security as you seem to have such empathy with poverty. I haven`t disseminated the word poverty..you are free to interpret it anyway you deem fit :)

Okay, well if by "security" you are including the feeling of belonging to a community then fair enough.

It seems that you are not saying this, but the reason I am a bit sensitive about this is that I get fed up of hearing "What are the young complaining about? They've got food in their bellies and running water and electricity, that makes them rich in global terms, right to complain about anything automatically forfeited." Inhabitants of sink estates have material security in the form of food and utilities and a roof over their heads, but mental health problems and drug/alcohol abuse are widespread in these places so material security alone appears not to be enough to have a 'rich' life. I think many people undervalue the importance of feeling like an ordinary, respected member of society.

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I think the point is we largely don't have mutual respect, empathy, social bonds that extend beyond our close social circle, etc, any more. Just take a look at the rise of the precariat and all the ways that younger generations are getting scr*wed over and it seems evident that these things are dead or dying. We are socially impoverished and that is why relative material wealth can't make us feel rich. Further to that there are many who don't feel particularly secure in relation to their accomodation, food supply (hence the rise of foodbanks), income (especially in relation to outgoings given debt levels and payday lenders), etc and therefore also don't feel any relative material wealth because what they do have, however rich in comparison to the rest of the world, is continually at threat of being lost.

Edit: Sorry Dorkins if I've misinterpreted your point, that's just what I think about the situation.

No misinterpretation, I pretty much agree with this. There are definitely some people struggling with material things like food supply but it's a strange one because food is so cheap. My guess is that some of them have got themselves stuck in situations where their housing is too expensive and they don't want to move. Maybe some are not very good at claiming benefits so don't have that security of income.

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