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Does America Need Trillionaires?

Concentrated wealth has long been recognized as a threat to American democracry.[1]

 

Although we are not there yet, the time is rapidly approaching where an entirely new and even more exclusive economic super class will arise - the Trillionaire. Given that the “morbidly rich” already own our courts, the media, and the financial industrial complex, the consequences for our economic and political freedom would be devastating.

 

According to financial analysts, the first Trillionaires could arise within the next 10 years. Unsurprisingly, Elon Musk sits atop the list of twenty-one individuals who will likely be charter members of the Trillionaire Club.[2],[3] Jeff Bezos and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are not far behind him.[4]

 

Does America need Trillionaires? The answer is a resounding no.

 

For persepctive, the unbridled economic power of a single Trillionaire would exceed the GDP of all but eight developed economies.[5]


With their enormous concentration of wealth, there will not be enough resources left for the rest of us to engage in meaningful economic activities.[6] People will no longer afford to take out a mortgage, buy a car, have access to education, or retire with some modicum of dignity.

 

It is not an exageration to say that we will find ourselves in a new feudal system where Trillionaires operate like lords of the Earth.

 

But what can we do?

 

Preventing this economic dystopia would require some radical changes. Voting out extreme free market Republicans is a good place to start.

 

But then we need to elect progressive politicians who know that there is more to taxation than simply raising revenue – that preventing extreme inequality is a good in and of itself. It would require a new focus on rigorous competition policy to break up and prevent monopolies.

 

Maybe we can’t stop the ultimate rise of the Trillionaire class, but we can surely delay their ascendence.

 


[1] de Tocqueville, Alexis (1835). De la démocratie en Amérique. Vol. I (1st ed.). Paris: Librairie de Charles Gosselin.

 

 

 

[4] However, Musk might not be the first to enter the Trillionaire Club if X (formerly known as Twitter) or Tesla continue their downward spiral.

 

 

 

 

 

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