Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thanking the One Percent

OK. We will do it, Harry Binswanger! Here goes: Thanks so very, very, very much, you awesome and magnificent One Percenters!!! Was that humble enough? Are you happy now, Harry? Do you think the One Percenters are happy now?

As if thanks and praise from us, the 99%, means anything—we who without the One Percent would starve in our "hopeless ineptitude," to paraphrase John Galt in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. (Quoted in Harry Binswanger's comments at this Forbes magazine link: It's Time for the 99% to Give Back to the 1%.)

On The Daily Ticker at The 99 Percent Owe a Debt of Gratitude to the One Pecent, Dr Binswanger also says:

"The point I was making with the tax [exemption for the rich] is that we owe a debt of gratitude. We of the 99% owe a debt of gratitude, and I mean a humble moral gratitude. Thank you, thank you! Steve Jobs. Thank you! Warren Buffett. Thank you! Bill Gates. Thank you! Henry Ford. These are the people who lifted us out of the cave and gave us our standard of living. So as a symbolic gesture I want them to be exempt—the really great achievers, to be exempted from all taxes. And I propose that the highest earner each year be given the Congressional Medal of Honor."

There has been a rash of these kinds of comments lately in reaction to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Harry Binswanger, Ph.D. is a philosopher who worked with Ayn Rand and is a professor at the Objectivist Academic Center of the Ayn Rand Institute. He is also on the board of directors of the Institute.

We also see the following from Alex Epstein on Let's Give Thanks for the One Percent. Mr Epstein says:

"Look at the industries that have dramatically improved over the past several decades, and you’ll see a pattern: certain super-productive individuals have led the way. These individuals invariably fall under the 1% of income earners--often the 1% of the 1%. "

One problem here is that if all the rest of us are chopped liver compared to the One Percent, then our opinions do not mean anything, anyway. At best our praise is schlock if not kitsch. Best we keep our mouths shut, really.

Another problem is that maybe the One Percent do not need our thanks and praise. They might consider it a loss of their own time and a waste to listen to choirs of angels singing their praises. Also, those angels might be better off spending their time working.

These obsequious attitudes are in line with economist Tyler Cowan's comments that we ( mentioned in our post That Sounds Pretty Bad. To quote Dr Cowan again, 

"... making high earners feel better in just about every part of their lives will be a major source of job growth in the future. ... Better about the world. Better about themselves. Better about what they have achieved."

That looks like a pretty ugly and demeaning future to Are the 99% not to have any dignity remaining at all? Are we all supposed to become lickspittles like Harry Binswanger, Alex Epstein, and Tyler Cowan? says that we all have value and should demand to be treated with dignity no matter how much more productive some of the One Percenters might be. It is also a good idea not to forget that some of them, maybe most of them, did not even earn their wealth, but inherited it like mining heiress Gina Rinehart of Australia. (Who has made disparaging comments about the rest of us. See our post No Sauce For The Gander.)

The fact is that the One Percent have had their reward already. They dispose of enormous resources and are able to jerk other people's lives around pretty much as they wish. They do not need the praise of those they may see as lower forms of life, like us 99 Percenters, unless it is a megalomaniacal whim. In which case, perhaps they should see a psychiatrist. Such whims seem crazy to

Even if the One Percent do not have an insane desire for unending praise in surround sound, they may want a less expensive and more obedient 99 Percent. sees no reason for that. The One Percenters dominate more than enough already. This might be resisted by adopting "rugged individualism," but that seems impossible. We all rely on society too much to be truly individualistic, and many of us are not very rugged. Rather we might adopt the attitude of what might be called "free-range humanity," where we refuse to cage our minds as Binswanger, Epstein, and Cowan apparently have done.

Unfortunately, the corporate-government combination may have the power to overcome this sort of inner resistance by individuals. thinks we need more than that. We believe that the 99 Percent need collective action to resist these pressures. The form of that action should be multiple exclusive currencies and markets so that we can "firewall" the One Percent away from the 99 Percent. Read the other postings for more details. Support

The way capitalism should be.

Socialism for the socialists and capitalism for the capitalists.

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