Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
The rich aren’t evil.
Truly they’re not.
Well, some of them are, but it’s a very small minority. Yes, Hollywood likes to make movies about that small minority and, by the by, only a small minority of Hollywood is obscenely rich.
But, please please don’t think all rich people are stinking venal money-grabbers.
I am here (loosely) paraphrasing the words of Warren Buffett.
In an interview with Reuters, the great investor and head of Berkshire Hathaway mused: “I was born in 1930. There’s now six times as much real output per capita in the United States than there was then.”
He continued: “If you told my parents that under these circumstances, there would be millions and millions of people living in poverty they would have said it was impossible.”
Here is Buffett’s thesis as to why there is so much income inequality today.
He said: “As the economy becomes more specialized the people at the top, not because they’re evil or conniving or anything of the sort, as a natural consequence a lot of the wealth falls to the top.”
You see, there is no evil. There is no conniving. There is merely cosmic imbalance.
It’s an interesting picture, watching this cash fall upward, like an incompetent manager who’s just so likable. It’s as if the rich have a magnet that sucks money toward them, while the poor are deliberately deprived of such a tool.
The mere notion that this wealth falls upward suggests that the system itself enjoys an inverse gravity that creates poverty.
In essence, the system is biased toward the rich.
Buffett phrased it like this: “You expect unequal results in a market economy, very unequal, but you really shouldn’t have an economy of $50,000 GDP per person and have lots of people living in poverty who are willing to work.”
It’s the system, says Buffett. Or, as Depeche Mode preferred it, everything counts in large amounts.
It’s worth wondering, though, who created the system.
Was it merely politicians tinkering with policy like inebriated engineers falling upon a 1950s Ford Thunderbird, not entirely considering the consequences of their actions?
Or might a contribution have been made by corporations who employ louche-lipped lobbyists galore to ensure that the policies enacted largely favor those whose laps are already full of gravity-defying lucre?
For Buffett, the solution is new governmental policy.
How, though, can we expect government to take action when so many politicians — their pockets often filled with corporate tips — are deeply keen on inaction, especially when it comes to policies that might favor the disadvantaged?