Summary: The concentration of wealth and power during the past forty years continues, even accellerates. Anyone familiar with history can see how this will change America. Now we enter the next stage. Like the plutocrats of the gilded age, they claim virtue and efficiency in addition to wealth. Such as Peter Thiel, speaking as a voice of the New America. Money always finds its spokesman.
(1) “Talking tech with Peter Thiel, investor and philanthropist“, CNet, 3 October 2011 — “CNET chats with Peter Thiel, billionaire tech investor and philanthropist, on startups, the state of the tech economy, and what he’s interested in now.”
Question: You once told The Wall Street Journal, referring to President Obama: “I’m not sure I’d describe him as a socialist. I might even say he has a naive and touching faith in capitalism. He believes you can impose all sorts of burdens on the system and it will still work.” Is that still true?
Thiel: Yes. I think there is an incredible faith in capitalism — that you can put any burdens on business, and people will just work. It’s like people are hardwired to make money and there’s nothing you can do to change that, irrespective of politics. In that sense it is an incredible faith in capitalism that I don’t quite share.
Theil seems delusionally unaware of US history. The excesses of the Gilded Age that prompted the regulations of the Progressive Era and New Deal. And that the US has experienced 30 years of tax-cutting and deregulation, taking both taxes and regulations now at levels far below those during the post-WWII years of rapid growth. His belief that Obama has imposed unusual burdens is equally absurd (Obama’s a laisze-fair conservative by comparison with Nixon’s regulatory surge).
(2) The unhinged whining of a plutocrat: “The Education of a Libertarian“, Peter Thiel, Cato Unbound, 13 April 2009
(3) An alternative to reading this fascinating and self-revealing essay: “Libertarian inadvertently argues for 90% marginal tax rate“, Amanda Marcottte, Pandagon, 23 April 2012.
(4) And for entertainment we have some articles about the whining of the rich. These describe only a small fraction of whining by the rich during the past few years:
- A pity party for America’s rich and powerful, 8 September 2010 — Daniel S. Loeb, Third Point Partners
- “The whining of the rich“, Michael O’Hare, 18 September 2010
- “Why The Whining Rich Whine“, Dave Johnson, 19 September 2010
- “The whining rich“, Felix Salmon, Reuters, 20 September 2010
For more information
The rich always find courtiers to justify their wealth and power: “The Creative Monopoly“, David Brooks, op-ed in the New York Times, 23 April 2012 — A giddy Brooks describes Thiel’s love of monopoly, dressed in tinsel for gullible Americans. Anyone familiar with real monopolies and near-monopolies, from Standard Oil to Microsoft, will laugh at this.
A dose of reality: “Poor little rich minds: The price of wealth“, Michael Bond, New Scientist, 18 April 2012 — “Psychologists now have evidence that money breeds greed and kills empathy. Knowing how could help solve social ills.”
Other posts about inequality
- A sad picture of America, but important for us to understand, 3 November 2008 — Our low social mobility.
- America’s elites reluctantly impose a client-patron system, 5 November 2008
- Inequality in the USA, 7 January 2009
- A great, brief analysis of problem with America’s society – a model to follow when looking at other problems, 4 June 2009
- The latest figures on income inequality in the USA, 9 October 2009
- An opportunity to look in the mirror, to more clearly see America, 10 November 2009
- Graph of the decade, a hidden fracture in the American political regime, 7 March 2010
- America, the land of limited opportunity. We must open our eyes to the truth., 31 March 2010
- Modern America seen in pictures. Graphs, not photos. Facts, not impressions., 13 June 2010
- A pity party for America’s rich and powerful, 8 September 2010
- News You Can Use to understand the New America, 14 March 2012 — Articles about rising inequality
- The new American economy: concentrating business power to suit an unequal society, 27 April 2012
- Should we despair, giving up on America?, 5 May 2012