I heard a couple points that Top 1% protesters should consider.
1. Of the roughly 100 billion humans that have existed on Earth through time, a billion would be in the top 1% of income and standard of living and all of them are alive today and most are in this country, and several are protesting against the U.S.’s top 1%.
2. If you simply expand population to include everyone alive now, the 1% includes about 70 million folks. Further, if your income is greater than $35,000 per year, welcome to the world’s Top 1%.
I’m not sure if these are accurate. But, the key point is that by standards of our ancestors and many others on Earth now, we have it pretty well.
Protesters claim that the rich have plenty and should use their money to do good things.
A commenter on Cafe Hayek (let’s call him Oswald) pointed out that if rich people spend their money on personal baubles instead of finding a cure for cancer or building hospitals, then they’re not doing good.
The two points above about the top 1% made me wonder if some folks might judge Oswald similarly.
To a person living in mud hut, in a country without grocery stores, indoor plumbing, or paved roads, Oswald’s choice to spend his plentiful resources — like his time — commenting on blog posts might appear suspect.
After all, shouldn’t Oswald spend his time finding cures for cancer and raising funds to build hospitals?
People like feel obliged to weigh in on how billionaires should use their wealth. Personally, I wish they would continue doing what they did to create the wealth in the first place, unless it involves stealing or rent-seeking.
By investing in business, taking risks and following their hunches they create the things that allow us to live far better than our ancestors and others elsewhere. They also create jobs for the rest of us and investment opportunities for our 401ks.
I don’t begrudge any billionaire for wanting to give to charity. But, I’d like to hear some of them say they considered reinvesting, for our sake.