I absolutely and wholeheartedly agree that those who create highly successful business enterprises through their intellect, hard work, entrepreneurial drive and the investment of their time and money, should be very well rewarded. They absolutely have the right to expect a good life, a fine house, two or three cars, a boat, or whatever toys make them happy, but ten million bucks should adequately cover that, and would still be more than the vast majority of people would see in a lifetime!
Nobody needs a billion dollars. When you learn that 1% of the world’s population own 40% of the world’s wealth, and 50% of the world’s population own just 1% of all wealth, and when you consider the millions of people who are literally starving worldwide, being a billionaire seems an obscene proposition.
There is little benefit to the world’s economy in concentrating wealth in the hands of so few. When you’re that rich you have everything you need – you’ve not much left to spend it on. Economies do very much better when the aspiring middle class have money. They spend it and it circulates through the economy.
We are learning that, because of artificial intelligence, something like 40% of today’s jobs will not even exist within fifteen years. Certainly there will be some new jobs created that we haven’t even thought of, but I think it would be highly, even irresponsibly optimistic to think that all of those 40% will be replaced. Doubtless those who invent the artificial intelligence applications that end up taking over the jobs will become billionaires and, like all good billionaires, will find every conceivable loophole to reduce or avoid the taxes they should be paying.
I recall that back in the 1960’s the UK used to have a super-tax for those on extremely high incomes. I don’t know what the cut-in point was but the tax went up to about 95%. Of course that just led to a flood of wealthy people going to live overseas where taxes were not so punitive. I don’t know how to solve the problem but it is a global problem so I think it will take international cooperation – ah well, there goes that idea!
There has been much talk lately of a ‘Universal Wage’. Yes, I know the Finns have tried it recently and it didn’t seem to work for them, but unless we can find a more equitable solution, we are going to see a future with vast numbers of people unemployed and, if they have to try to live on welfare, the poverty will be acute. Folk living on $250.00 a week don’t contribute very much to the economy; if we think retail sales are a bit flat at the moment . . . !