- Thor Hempel
- San Mateo
- Costa Rica
What is wrong with the 1%?
My assumption is that we all benefit from wealth creation. How do we encourage its creation if we cast those who accumulate it in a negative light? Is it not societies reward mechanism for entrepreneurship, innovation and good management? Would it be fair to suggest the issue raised by the 99% is more one related to the ostentatious display of wealth and the lack of transparency as to how it was earned? Is this a reflection of consumer versus societal values? Should wealth be confiscated or should society encourage it is used in a manner that does not cause social unrest? If so how?
Closing Statement from Thor Hempel
I would like to thank everyone for their contributions. One of the findings that surprised me was how much our responses are possibly influenced by moral issues such as covetousness and greed. The current global economic issues beg for solutions to resolve the conflict between the 99% and the 1%. What surprised me when doing some research were the wise words from the past. Tragic lessons unheeded?
"Of all forms of tyranny the least attractive and the most vulgar is the tyranny of mere wealth." Theodore Roosevelt
"An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all Republics." Plutarch
"Of all the potential perils to the new American republic, the prospect of concentrated power . . troubled the intellectual leaders of the Revolutionary generation. Familiar as the founders were with old Europe . . they understood why the accumulation of inherited wealth led to inequities and imbalances that inevitably corrupted any system of government." J. Conason
"Market forces have no intrinsically moral direction, which is why, before he wrote The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith wrote The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Ethics should precede economics. But it doesn't have to. . . We know this because we've seen the results of capitalism without conscience: the pollution of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat; the endangerment of workers; and the sale of dangerous products - from cars to toys to drugs. All in pursuit of ever-greater profits." A. Huffington
"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." F. D. Roosevelt
"Of course I believe in free enterprise but in my system of free enterprise, the democratic principle is that there never was, never has been, never will be, room for the ruthless exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few." H Truman
"If there are men in this country big enough to own the government of the United States, they are going to own it." Woodrow Wilson