In history books, you get a sense sometimes that there were eras in which stuff like this sent people into the streets in rages. In which governments were voted out or overthrown, in which meaningful legislative responses were made. Or, you know, riots.
But I look around after reading those books and wonder what makes us so different. It's weird to live in this era. I read a Guardian article like this and look at the staggering sums, this entire "shadow financial system" devoted solely to one notion: I'm going to take as much as I can, in whatever way that I can, regardless of legality, and I'm going to give nothing back because I sincerely don't believe I owe anything back -- oh, and I'm going to keep it all a secret.
And I look around and not only don't see any riots; I sometimes get the feeling that people are actually envious, sometimes even respectful of the ingenuity it takes to manufacture these schemes. It's tough.
The only silver lining I can think of is what all the secrecy says: we're not just doing this in the open because we're still afraid we'll end up like the Romanovs if too many of you get angry. I think that while they're still afraid, there's still some hope.
EDIT: Reading some replies. It's weird to have to say this to such a smart crowd, but I'm not advocating riots as such; I'm advocating a substantive response. Of course riots are "bad" in some sense, but my observation is really about the odd contrast between the huge size of the "stimulus" (theft of wealth, much of it yours, on a staggering scale) and the tiny size of the "response" (newspaper articles and web forum discussions), especially when contrasted with other historical periods. So while I wouldn't "want a riot", seeing one would make me go "well, that makes sense".
I used to think this. But now I think: maybe the ‘dent’ I’ve been looking for is essentially just excitement and hype, which isn’t change. The narrative that change happens through the mass public getting angry, forcing politicians to respond, is overblown at best. I think the boring truth is that nearly all progress in this area (and there is progress) happens through countless bureaucrats diligently working for years on court cases and regulation changes to make it harder for people to get away with this stuff. For such bureaucrats, a leak like this is going to be relevant and valuable for years, long after the media has moved on. The people implicated in the leak didn’t want the leak to happen, and there’s a reason. Sure, most are probably too powerful to get prosecuted and put in jail, but it does curb their options for future shenanigans, and they will probably lose some money. Sanctions do work. I think it’s probably always been this way too – the exciting, romantic parts of history (marches, revolutions) are the exception, we just pay more attention to them.
I guess what I'm less sure about is the inevitability that you're painting it with. Seems a bit "whiggish" , in my reading, if for no other reason than seeing brighter days on this front in the past than in the present and immediate future.
Wikipedia has an article on outcomes from the 2016 Panama Papers . Lots of boring things.
I see what you mean about whiggish (good word). But well, I do think it is more or less inevitable that there will be outcomes that certain people don’t want, otherwise they wouldn’t have been trying to hide their finances from regulators. And I would speculate those outcomes will probably be pretty positive, if added up together, such that the journalists and whistleblowers involved in the leak should feel immensely proud. But my main point is that the extent of general public outrage over the original data leak is irrelevant to how positive the eventual outcomes will turn out to be.
In which ways do you think it was brighter on this front in the past?
It used to work. As recent as a couple decades ago at least. The Arab spring that swept Middle East and parts of North Africa in 2010s comes to mind.
Protesting and going to the streets, depending on where you are in this world, feels more like a dying art today rather than the stuff of revolution we've associated them with in the past. Feels wrong just typing that.
Maybe we've just become insensitive to it all and do not have the will to fight governments.
Maybe our collective thoughts and ideas are more homogenous than ever before.
The WTO always brings a decent sized chunk of protest when it comes - but the biggest protest in my memory is Occupy Wall Street which ended up being incredibly peaceful and polite and thus absolutely ignored by the media. The largest one before that was probably the '92 LA Riots which I was born just late enough to not notice.
Most of the more media grabbing protests of my life time have actually been sports related - the Red Sox winning and the Stanley Cup Riot. I don't know how true your statement really is.
Should we hope this continues? Probably. If the situation deteriorates to the point that revolution becomes palatable the result would be mass human suffering.
The thing that's changed is that the people in power are no longer taking the implicit threat seriously. The dog is snarling at them, yet somehow, it's unthinkable that they're about to be bitten.
I don't think we have - the outrage machine seems to be growing. Wasn't there widespread violent protests for most of the year leading up to the election last year?
The problem is for the most part people's outrage and hatred has been redirected toward their fellow citizen and away from the ruling class, which is clearly not a coincidence.
A nation-wide strike, now that would get attention.
Because that kind of show is how the ideas it promotes are normalized, which is the foundation on which other action is built.
> It seems that, in the developed world at least, ideas are promoted and normalized via mass media and/or the Internet
Sure, and mass protests are how marginalized groups leverage the selection biases of the mass media for their message.
Which country has been better off after Arab spring?
At the same time, as regulation gets more complex, it creates new ways to be exploited. The same way more source code means more possibilities for bugs. The bureaucrats play a catch-up game and they are always at a disadvantage.
This is the true power of the media. It isn't whatever lies or truths they may tell, though those are impactful in their own way... it is the way they decide what we think about at all. The true power of the media is to inflate some tiny incident that happened to one person to a national-scale, multi-week crisis... and to be able to take national-scale, multi-decade crises and bury them to the point that it's right down there with "conspiracy theories" to think about them.
If you pay attention, you can see this sometimes in action. They'll push a story expecting a certain reaction, but if they don't get the reaction they expect, poof, it's gone. There's always a huge pool of stories to draw from, far larger than they need to send any message they want without having to necessarily lie at any point. They just have to control the spotlight of attention to get the results they want.
Sometimes HN denizens talk about breaking out of the filter bubble. This might be a better way of thinking about it... instead think of it as breaking away from the attention spotlight being pushed on you by the media. Almost the entire world is taking place outside that spotlight.
What makes further consequences happen? Powerful people taking an interest. The media is the fourth estate, but only insofar as their actions trigger reactions in the first-through-third estates. For a news story to “continue to happen”, it needs a patron in a position of power to actually care about what was reported, and act in response, in a media-visible way. News coverage is, and always has been, a feedback loop between journalists and the public figures they cover.
Which implies that if something is a “taken as a given” practice among pretty much everyone with power, then reporting on it won’t get any powerful patron riled up, and so won’t get anything done to feed back into the news cycle.
Democracy continues to function, separately from all this; voters read the news, get angry, and pressure their congressman, who then pushes for change in the house, causing ripples in the bureaucracy. But none of that is able to be framed in an incendiary “continuing coverage” format, because there is no heroic narrative to democracy, only the snowball effect of small actions — so the regular news media doesn’t attach to it at all, so it seems to just drop off the face of the Earth.
But it’s still happening; it’s just happening in a way you can only perceive with “I watch C-SPAN” glasses on.
They have us divided and fighting each other so we're too busy to see the real cause of our discontent.
So much truth has been censored and replaced with lies in the last 2 years. But no one is calling them on it? There isn't even an apology or a retraction.
It's not news.
When it’s not opinion pieces they are usually promoting someone’s book or hyping up some Lifetime special.
Even before reporting really started circling the drain I always noted how wrong the news got technology stories, and I wondered if all the other topics were just as off.
People have Netflix, the Internet, and video games all cheap and at the touch of a button; opioids, antidepressants, and illicit drugs are socially acceptable and easily obtained, sometimes even at a government subsidy; and almost nobody is physically starving or lacking rudimentary shelter (even the poor in America are fed, clothed, and housed to an extent almost unimaginable compared to the shattering destitution experienced in most of human history).
This was not the case in the past, when so many more people were subject to backbreaking manual farm and industrial labor, the real chance of starvation, malnutrition, or outright poisoning from unregulated industrialized food, cramped conditions in drafty, moldy buildings, grim disease, and worst of all, nothing to distract you from it all. One's free time was spent thinking about how unfair it all was, not watching TV. When people are stuck at the bottom of Maslow's pyramid, they have nothing better to do then get mad and start rioting.
But as long as the bread and circuses continue to be effective, the will to riot in the streets is gone. Who cares if a billionaire sneaks in a second yacht on the side? I can just open a bag of Doritos I bought for pennies and switch to the Kardashians. The strange thing is, would we not consider this positive progress?
Many Americans are effectively wage-slaves - unable to quit their jobs, because they rely on the income and have nearly no savings.
Rent has to be paid. Food has to be bought. Car insurance, taxes, dentist appointments - you can't stop making money, because you can't stop paying money.
Moving costs an up-front investment that you don't have. Land is expensive, and even if you had the skills to build your own lodging, it has to be up to code.
Pivoting to self-employment might seem easy in the age of Uber, but the reality is that it is incredibly difficult to earn yourself a living without playing by somebody else's rules. In the past, you could decide to earn a living as a fisherman simply by fishing and selling your catch. Handy with a hammer? Supplement your income on an ad-hoc basis by helping out your neighbors.
The stress of dealing with everyday life can be so overwhelming that the only thing a person has juice left for at the end of the day is turning on the television, scrolling twitter, and eating those Doritos. And that television (and even twitter) isn't telling you any ways out of the invisible, ubiquitous cycle you're stuck in.
One theme is scarcity (and the ingenuity borne of it). People didn’t have a lot, so they needed to be clever with what they had. They worked incredibly hard, and invented/sought out tools to make their lives physically easier. They toiled for most of their lives, but they saw their known tool get easier as time went on (upgrading from jute to nylon netting, hydraulic winches instead of manual cranks, sonar instead of trial and error).
The people who worked (what seemed to me to be) the worst jobs had a common refrain: “the best thing about X is nobody tells me to do <hard thing> at <unreasonable time> in <unreasonable conditions>. I’m my own boss, make my own decisions, and it keeps me happy.” They owned all the highs, lows, and war stories of business ownership.
Also, a fun anecdote. They asked one guy “what would you tell somebody young who’s new into fishing?” He thought hard, then said “I would tell them to study hard and become a doctor or a lawyer or something, if they’re interested in money”. Made me chuckle!
Anyways, this is to say that it’s always been hard to seek out self employment or total self sufficiency. Generally, you could always trade off comfort for autonomy . Nowadays, we as a society have made inhabiting that material discomfort nearly illegal, as you imply. We raised the floor of material suffering, but the emotional and psychological floor is only elastically attached to that material floor, with an elasticity coefficient that seems to vary widely from person to person. It seems to have been a monotonic transformation so far, but time will tell.
Specifically in the USA it's even worse, since jobs are linked to healthcare.
And nothing happens...
Time and time again someone I the "high society " gets killed, there are a couple of marches and everything stays the same. It's as if the actual majority of the population was fine living in this shithole.
It's so depressing.
Just to add on: I also believe that this is why we see virtue signaling so strongly today. The impact of one’s actions is quite secondary, for all the reasons you mention. So the illusion of change is just another circus for the mind to pass another hour.
I still think we live in the greatest point in time in human history, but this is a super interesting and equally concerning possibility.
If people are happy with the status quo, and it turns out that they were wrong about the nature of that status quo ... that still isn't necessarily a reason to do anything.
Since birth they are made to believe that the miraculous democratic republic they live in gives them agency, and that the reason they actually don't have agency is because their fellow citizens are stupid and can't vote for the right things.
The result is a feeling of justified helplessness. There's no feeling of outrage at the greedy tyrannical ruling class, because after all either you or your neighors "chose" them.
And if taxation laws are unjust, it's your neighbors' fault. They voted for red while blue would obviously have your best interests in mind. Nevermind the fact that both red and blue are part of the same wealth and social class, who benefit from the same laws.
Not to mention it prevents political violence at the expense of causing extreme violence in foreign nations. As long as its not us, right?
I would say with this that unfortunately democracy = capitalism in the world we live in. And its really capitalism that causes those things, rather than democracy itself. I dont want to give the impression I hate democracy as an idea, just how we've implemented it.
people who say this are actually not saying the literal meaning of that sentence. I believe they mean that they observe ever increasing levels of wealth amongst some people, but not themselves or their friends/peers. Therefore, they equate the fact that they are not at the same relative level of wealth as some wealthy people, and thus, conclude that it must be that poverty is increasing.
I find it difficult to agree with this sentiment. Social mobility might have decreased in the last four decades. But in the longer perspective there has never been a more egalitarian and meritocratic social structure than in our time. And that structure exists mainly in the democratic states of the world.
And there are democracies out there today that aren't capitalist, in the true meaning of that word:
Is there any evidence that there is any system of government that does so less?
Calling our democratic Republics simply "Democracy" is another cool helplessness-inducing newspeak trick. That language implicitly positions the system on the extreme-end of citizen-agency, so logically everything else must be more authoritarian.
In fact, assuming you live in one of these so-called "Democracies", think about how much your country's laws and policies impact you, and then think how much effort and input you provide to deciding those laws and policies. The ratio is most likely ridiculous.
We always say "direct democracy doesn't work because people don't care about every issue", but there's an universe of possibilities between Democratic Republic ("chose between red and blue every five years") and simplistic direct democracy ("country-wide majority vote on every government decision").
Do you have any suggestions on how to improve the system?
1. Automatic jail time for anyone, who held public office after they leave on the assumption that must have done something. Side benefit: prisons would improve drastically.
2. Absolutely random election for every office in the land. This should spice things up. Side benefit: we would quickly find out what exactly they higher ups want to do about overpopulation of the planet.
3. Term limits for congress. It will never happen, but it is nice to dream.
I think overall I would prefer more short-term legislative experiments—the impression I get is that people (especially at the US federal level) try to write law or create programs ostensibly for the long-term, and I'm curious what a short-term experiment with reflection and re-evaluation would look like. E.g., trying sortition for one two elections, or a law that establishes term limits but has an expiration date.
They mention King Abdullah II of Jordan, but how likely do you think it is that there could or would be any consequences for him? It seems highly unlikely.
Also, they mention that Putin is not named directly in these papers, but we can be pretty certain that he's been involved in all sorts of financial skullduggery. Yes, they say that some of his close associates are mentioned, but even if it can be tied directly to Putin with 100% certainty it would have little to no effect in removing him from power as his power over Russia at this point is too strong for such allegations to have any effect.
And Who benefits from making Zelinskiy look bad?
EDIT: Maybe we're not more shocked because we suspect that if we knew the whole story it would actually be much worse than this?
Very simple, USA orders global sanctions on the guy, and we will all see what next stupid thing it will provoke him into.
All these Magnitsky acts are silly, and useless when they keep going against accessories to the criminal regime, while not going against that criminal regime itself, and especially the chief motherfucker in charge.
The few times USA has ever attempted to sanction heads of states personally were few African states, Norko, and Philippines
yes that's absolutely damning. typical Putin /s
can you share more of your conclusions based on absence of evidence?
Obviously I'd prefer it if they obeyed the laws and faced justice, but that seems not to be the world we live in. I'm not going to risk my comfortable life rebelling against them to make it more likely either. Instead, maybe the right move is to just keep pushing the quality bar higher.
On a sidenote, this is why I always preferred Brave New World over 1984. Easier to keep the population in control by keeping them satisfied.
Read better history books. A bunch of people yelling into the air is not how change is effected.
Really the culprit here is the French revolution, back when things were physically rooted so if you could storm the palace and burn your debt the debt would really be gone. All the French organs of power were located in this city filled with seething people. But that is not the world we live in today. If you storm the whitehouse, you just trespassed on a famous building, you haven't captured the center of power. If you tear down a statue, you just lose popular support, you are not overthrowing anything by attacking the physical statue.
Power is not in buildings and it's not obtained by yelling.
Moreover the resentment of incredibly privileged people complaining that they are not as privileged as someone else is not how you gain popular support.
Yes, envy is still a powerful motivator, but the achillees heel of envy is that it's hard to unify a group of people who are driven by resentment. They constantly turn on each other. It's a very tricky thing, and if you are a would-be Napoleon, then shouting at birds isn't how you convert envy into a stepping stone for power.
YMMV, but I'm 2L deep on local beer and it's not making me trust The Man yet.
If it isn't the former, the plan is working technically.
I like the photo of Ilham Aliyev and his wife though. He looks like a villain from James Bond movie.
Bread and circuses was politicians getting into debt or Emperors dilapidating the treasury to buy the support of the masses, I don’t think that’s really the case here.
It’s more that if people are prosperous and safe they stop caring enough
I would like you to think about this paragraph.
Now think about UBI.
Now think about Modern Monetary Theory.
I see an attempt at distinction without a difference.
I find this complacency we have bizarre because the average working poor person seems pretty miserable looking at their phone and eating fast food. The Panama Papers could offer clues for why they work so hard and never seem to have a single penny at the end of each month after the bills are paid. But the Big Mac and the Juul Pod and their Facebook feed makes them too tired right now to care…there’s a new show on Netflix a friend told them about and maybe that will make them happy for a few hours.
 German only: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_am_Gleisdreieck
I was a British Army brat and we were stationed in Rheindahlen near MG at the time. The Berlin Corridor was pretty grim. It was a long straight concrete road with barbed wire fences on both sides. At the Berlin end we parked up in a large concrete plaza and presented passports through a metal hatch. Then we were allowed into the city. Berlin in 1980. I really wish I was older and could give a better impression of the place at the time but there are probably plenty of writers who can do the same and far better. It seemed to me at the time to be the same as any other (West) German city but a bit bigger! I think we were allowed a short trip to the East side via CP Charlie.
The Berlin I visited back then had bigger fish to fry than a contentious autobahn!
"The discourse" is increasingly unglued from any kind of ground truths. The pandemic has just made that far more obvious. It's just people refighting the same wars.
> Or, you know, riots.
The US had a huge number of riots over the last year, and violent (but as yet unarmed) protestors stormed the federal and some state capitols. (There was also armed but not violent protest, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-52496514) Several cities briefly had "autonomous zones" and at least one police station burned down.
In fact, it's precisely during this time that the Feds were hitting the printing press the hardest, directly increasing wealth inequality and thus, the US Black population being on average way poorer and poverty indirectly being the number one cause of death, lowering US Black citizens' life expectancy more than US White citizens.
And yet 0 riots or public outcry about that, while countless more Black people will die because of these policies than the few who die of police brutality.
> In 2019 the median white household held $188,200 in wealth—7.8 times that of the typical Black household ($24,100)
I recently watched this video that shows how public perception over cars has been influenced over many many years into what we now have (and we now perceive as normal). I feel like it's somewhat related.
Snowden changed the discourse, but it wasn't a catalyst for change, unfortunately. I guess we're just not ready to change. When we are, maybe we'll look back at these events as early precursors that showed stress in the system before it snapped. Or we'll view them like we do the Luddites: trying to reverse the inevitable course of history.
In my experience seeing a black neighborhood errupt in protests after seeing another black man killed - while I personally think that black man in particular was not innocent - that neighborhood was ready to riot. The police in that area were brutal, abusive, and racist. The people in that area were subject to segregation that saw them receive worse education and job opportunities than the white neighborhoods. The government was unresponsive to their needs and, on the contrary, viewed them as a nuisance bringing down property values, and hurting their stats on standardized test scores. Then a black man was killed and they said they'd had enough of this, and then everyone says "the went to the streets because that man was killed" - which is both true and irrelevant. A small breeze will knock down a house of cards, but the fact that the house is made of cards is more important than the fact that the breeze caused it to collapse.
What are billions of us going to do now? As a group any action takes significantly more effort. Protesting to have any impact needs significant organization and involve millions. And even then, what's it gonna change but show up on the media? Anything else requires significant investment of one's time into organizing something. Precious time out of the little free time we have outside of work. The system is well made to protect the powerful. Power itself needs to be more decentralized, and get back closer to the people. But that doesn't work because we have countries with millions of people competing against each other. So there's no easy solution that I can see.
Perhaps some form of online voting and more agile democracy and communication between politics and people along with further decentralization.
Still, it's disheartening.
Would our lives be any different if the king of Jordan had paid his taxes? Would the UK be better off if Blair hadn't found a way of saving a couple hundred grand off his latest real estate purchase? Etc
Also I have no shame in admitting I'd do exactly the same if I had that kind of money.
If all of those who make a couple million a year who also avoid their taxes were to pay them, yes.
Not always, but generally that only happens when enough people can’t feed their kids. We’re still too comfortable to risk it all. There’s also the issue of mass surveillance which can kill an uprising in the cradle.
I think your somberness comes from an idealized, perhaps even fanciful look at the Human Condition. Personally speaking riots and even street demos against this are not what is needed here, but rather a significant amount of Human Capital into opting out of this system and creating a viable alternative.
Your pessimism is a symptom of a much bigger problem, not the source of the illness. Once you realize that you cannot reform this system you will be able to re-direct your energy toward that end and maybe find solace in the fact that we still live in the best time to be alive, if only because the amount of possibilities.
When you're barely getting by, or worse, have had family members die of starvation, it's more offensive, and you have less to lose, and so more likely that you'll take out the pitch fork and hit the streets.
Not saying we should maintain the status quo but if we want "substantive change" it would be helpful to start with reality.
And as some in this ‘smart crowd’ will tell you, large and amoral tech corporations are a key reason we have much of the artificial wealth and technocratic elitism we enjoy and speak from.
I do think this reporting does make an actual real life difference. Though cracking down on IRA exploitation is obvious low hanging fruit and a very simple one sentence type change in law.
Portland. Minnesota. Missouri. Berkeley. There are riots, currently about social justice, but the fight for a living wage is brewing because homelessness and poverty is on the rise. People need to have less to lose, and we're gettin' there.
Directly following that event, we all got distracted with the race politics that suddenly came to the forefront.
> But I look around after reading those books and wonder what makes us so different.
Quality of life improvements. Basically, ye olde historical riots yielded immediate and noticeable improvements for the people: rollbacks of food prices (there were a couple of riots over beer price hikes!), shorter workdays, work-free days, workplace safety measures, the likes.
In modern days, outside of affordability of healthcare, systems are so ossified that even a violent revolution won't make much actual change. Just look at BLM - decades of peaceful and finally violent protests and yet, nothing much has materially changed as a result. So why should someone take part in a riot and risk arrest when there is no hope of stuff changing for the better?
Another big factor is decades of anti-union brainwashing. Hard to organize a mass protest when anything even remotely tied to collective organization got branded as communist/anti-patriotic and thus as "bad, avoid it" and that was indoctrinated from school age onwards.
Wrong. Someone here from a third-world and small country. Some people got prosecuted because of these leaks. I'm pretty sure some people out-there are packing their bags and heading toward an exit. Legal process is very slow but it does exist and now that everything is public, there is a high risk of being prosecuted.
But there are always "but"s.
1. This was done legally and lawyers have made sure that every step is legal.
2. These people own the political/legal system (ie: Putin).
3. These people are dead, on the run, broke, already in jail, used third-parties and hid their identity, etc...
We’ve had people in the streets in rage, riots, and legislative responses to lots of things recently, though not the things that tend to animate the upper-middle class tech-libertarian crowd, which is out of touch with the day-to-day concerns of...pretty much everyone else.
Whether those responses will be meaningful is disputed in the moment and will only be clear with historical distance.
I think this is an accurate assessment (at least for the US). One of the only logical reasons as to why we as a society allow this is that there are enough individuals that aspire to be these insanely wealthy folks that we make sure that these scenarios remain possible.
Ironically, robbing your country and hiding your cash has become the American dream. For example, if I were to say:
“Aspiring to be like Elon Musk is genuinely the most pathetic way to spend a human life imaginable.
His fortune is built on apartheid and all of the torture and death it entails. Yes, Elon Musk and his family should rightly be judged morally as being active participants in the system that tortured and murdered countless black Africans. The fact that his family (and the money that they extracted from South Africans) left South Africa as soon as segregation started to wane is indicative of this.
He isn’t some sort of hero or genius, or even supervillain. He’s just managed to become what nerds masturbate to when they picture their (nonexistent) futures.
Finally, the wealth that he holds is only his because of his staff figuring out how to avoid paying for your roads, hospitals, schools, parks, research etc. He is only rich because you are not. To want to be like Elon Musk is like wanting to be a tumor attached to a nearly-dead host.”
Here’s what will happen, because this is the internet:
People with <0.00000001% of his net worth will jump in with one of a small handful of responses:
(These are all paraphrased but you never know, some might be verbatim)
1. I bet he actually does pay fair taxes…
2. Actually, I think his family didn’t profit from apartheid because…
3. Because you’ve used emotionally charged language in this post, I’m going to treat everything written here as patently false. While my decision to ignore what you’ve said is entirely based on my emotions, it is your fault for not being nice enough to me/Elon.
4. Fuck you. You owe him respect because [insert business here] has or will save the world someday, or not. It’s up to him. And while I’m not advocating for being afraid of him, in the back of my mind I get anxious about him being displeased every time I see him criticized and the best way to assuage that anxiety is to dunk on a stranger.
5. I don’t think we should use Elon as an example here because he’s such an easy target. The fact that he has so many “haters” is, to me, proof positive that he’s a saint. In fact, since criticizing him makes you a hater and everything haters say is False (as in the Boolean value), no criticism of him is True.
6. Any combination of the above + “I am/know somebody who is a Tesla shareholder, therefore it’s good”
While it might seem that I’ve meandered away from the topic at hand, I haven’t. The weird impulse to defend the uber-wealthy is precisely why we allow billionaires to run amok.
However i appreciate his zeal in creating an impact in a sector that would had otherwise not happened so fast. Not saying that he is solely responsible and deserves all the credit, however he understood how the system works and focused on doing some change.
Even people higher up in the food chain do not necessarily have all the power to effect change within a short span.
What riots did you participate in? If none, are you among the ones you assume to be envious?
Lots of crooks in power, sure, but if you know history that's how it's always been. How human societies typically work like that, and maybe they have to.
The numbers look big, but in terms of dollars per citizen, how much money are we really talking about?
I'm not sure what you intended with this, but it's a really good empirical question. Since we have no reason to believe any one of these "leaks" is exhaustive, we don't ever know the true denominator, so we can't estimate dollars-per-citizen with any confidence.
But we do know the realities of being poor. So if the true dollars-per-citizen-per-year figure turns out to be as little as, say a thousand dollars, I think a lot of people would be justified in eyeing their pitchforks. Hell, an extra fifty dollars a month in the developed world would make a massive difference for millions who struggle.
Personally, I believe that the true number is very plausibly in this range.
It's an honest question, and I am genuinely curious of the numbers in these revelations. How much bigger the real number is we can only guess.
> Hell, an extra fifty dollars a month in the developed world would make a massive difference for millions who struggle.
Sure, but that assumes such a system is possible, and that it is desirable. I'm doubtful on both.