It’s a tale as old as time: the ultra-rich exploit the working class for their own gain. And nowhere is this more evident than in the practices of billionaires like Elon Musk, Sergey Brin, Jeff Bezos, Rupert Murdoch, and Peter Thiel, who use all kinds of complex business practices like, just for example, using outsourcing and automation to replace workers just so they can make way more money.
But the cost of their greed is felt by the everyday workers who lose their jobs to these practices. The truth is, outsourcing and automation aren’t new phenomena, but the speed and scale at which they’re being implemented in the current economy is unprecedented.
And while these practices may result in higher profits for billionaires, they come at a tremendous cost to workers and their communities. Outsourcing and automation lead to job loss, decreased wages, and economic instability. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The bottom line is that billionaires are stealing your job. They’re using their wealth and power to eliminate jobs, outsource labor, and replace workers with automation. And they’re doing it all in the name of profits.
It’s time to call out the elephant in the room: billionaires are not ethical. The accumulation of their wealth is directly tied to the exploitation of people and the environment. From the destruction of natural resources to the exploitation of workers, billionaires have built their empires on the backs of the most vulnerable.
But what’s worse is that they’re not even using their wealth to create positive change. In fact, they’re actively fighting against policies that would benefit the majority of people, such as fair taxation and workers’ rights.
There are no ethical billionaires.
There are several unethical practices that billionaires have been known to engage in to amass their wealth. For instance, many billionaires have built their empires on the backs of low-wage workers, paying them minimum wages without benefits while taking in huge profits. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, for example, has been criticized for the low wages and poor working conditions in Amazon warehouses.
Some billionaires use their wealth to avoid paying taxes. This can be done through offshore accounts, loopholes in the tax code, or lobbying for tax breaks. In 2018, it was reported that Amazon paid $0 in federal taxes despite making billions of dollars in profits.
Many billionaires have businesses that contribute to environmental degradation, such as oil and gas companies. The Koch brothers, for example, are known for their support of the fossil fuel industry and their opposition to environmental regulations.
Some billionaires have made their wealth by exploiting cheap labor in developing countries. Clothing companies like H&M and Nike have been criticized for using sweatshop labor in countries like Bangladesh and Cambodia.
Some billionaires use their wealth to influence political systems and undermine democracy. For example, the Koch brothers have been known to fund political candidates who support a libertarian agenda, explicitly so they can pay less in taxes.
There are no self-made billionares.
Many billionaires received significant financial support from their families, such as Jeff Bezos who received a $245,000 loan from his parents to start Amazon. They like to tell a different tale – that Amazon was started out of his garage. But you can do a lot with a suburban garage and a quarter million dollars in startup money.
And while Elon Musk is often touted as a self-made billionaire, he actually inherited money from his father and used it to start his first company.
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, came from a wealthy family and received significant financial support from his parents. His father was a dentist, and his mother worked as a psychiatrist. Zuckerberg’s parents paid for his private school education, and he received funding from family friends to launch Facebook.
Steve Jobs received financial assistance from his parents, including a loan to buy his first computer.
Donald Trump received a “small loan of a million dollars” from his father to start his real estate empire, and has been embroiled in controversy over his business practices and treatment of workers.
Even someone who starts up their own business – like I have – has almost no chance of becoming a billionaire. I know firsthand that even with hard work and determination, the chances of becoming a billionaire are slim to none. I grew up with barely enough food on the table, and when I started my business, I had to rely on credit cards just to get it off the ground. It takes more than just hard work and determination to become a billionaire – it takes privilege, access to resources, and often a large financial cushion from family wealth.
The myth of the self-made billionaire is just that – a myth. The vast majority of billionaires inherited their wealth or received significant financial support from their families. It’s time to acknowledge the structural advantages that exist for the ultra-wealthy and recognize the need for a fairer tax system that ensures everyone has a fair shot at success.
Even me, working 10 hour days on starting my own company, will never be a billionaire because I didn’t inherit the kind of family cushion that all the known billionaires started with.
Tax action now.
It’s time to take action. One way to do this is through a higher tax on the ultra-wealthy. This tax would help to fund essential social programs and services, such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure. It’s a fair and necessary step towards creating a more equitable society.
But it’s not just about the money. We need to hold billionaires accountable for their actions and demand that they use their power and influence to make positive change. We need to push for ethical business practices, fair labor standards, and environmental sustainability.
Billionaires – their very existance – enables corruption. They can spend unlimited amounts on elections thanks to “Citizens United”, a terrible Supreme Court decision that equates money with speech. This allows the ultra-wealthy to influence elections and laws in their favor, while drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens.
Billionaires also use their wealth to influence politicians and policy decisions, often to benefit themselves and their businesses at the expense of workers, the environment, and public health. This corrupts the democratic process and undermines the basic tenets of a fair and just society.
Moreover, the extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of a few billionaires perpetuates inequality and exacerbates poverty. The richest 1% of the population owns more wealth than the bottom 90% combined, and this gap continues to widen.
The reality is that billionaires have too much power and influence in our society, and it’s time to reign them in. We need to shift the balance of power back to the people and prioritize the well-being of our communities over the greed of a select few.
So let’s demand a higher tax on the ultra-wealthy, and let’s hold billionaires accountable for their actions. It’s time to create a more just and equitable society for all.