Friday, December 16, 2011

The Trouble With Billionaires

The glittering lives of billionaires may seem like a harmless source of entertainment. But such concentrated economic power reverberates throughout society, threatening the quality of life and the very functioning of democracy. It's no accident that the United States claims the most billionaires – but suffers among the highest rates of infant mortality and crime, the shortest life expectancy, as well as the lowest rates of social mobility and electoral political participation in the developed world.

Those who make their living celebrating the lives of the rich were clearly delighted last month by the charity pledge from Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, since it showed what great guys billionaires really are.

So it wasn't surprising that Robert Frank, chronicler of the rich for the Wall Street Journal, took offense this week when we wrote a piece debunking the virtues of philanthropy.
Our piece was actually an excerpt from our new book, The Trouble with Billionaires, and philanthropy is just one of our targets.

Some billionaires, such as Leo J. Hindery Jr., have made this point themselves. Hindery, whose contribution was to found a cable television sports network, put it this way: "I think there are people, including myself at certain times in my career, who because of their uniqueness warrant whatever the market will bear." Similarly, Sanford Weill, long a towering figure on Wall Street, is impressed with the contributions of billionaires like himself: "People can look at the last 25 years and say that this is an incredibly unique period of time. We didn't rely on somebody else to build what we built..." Read more and watch the video.........

1 comment:

  1. It is absurd to tie the existence of billionaires with infant mortality. Our infant mortality rate is slightly higer then other countries almost entirely because of drug and chemical abuse and certainly not because of a few billionaires. Additionally many countries count infant mortality in different and sometimes bizarre ways designed to undercount their own infant mortality rates.


Everyone is encouraged to participate with civilized comments.