It was recently suggested to me that I and everyone should think “like a billionaire”. And “wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was a billionaire”? Here’s a few of my thoughts and how I responded.

Do have anything against wealth? No. Actually I want everyone to be “rich”. To have at least enough for dignified housing, nutritious food, clean drinking water, money for education, enough to pay for emergencies and to retire on with human dignity. And I think capitalism should have a floor that doesn’t start at or go to zero! Yes I do! That’s a foundation of a good moral healthy society. Everyone should have enough and build wealth.

Sadly that’s not what we have today, not here in the U.S. we don’t. Wages in the US have been flat for 4 decades! And 50% of Americans can’t make a $400 emergency if needed. Which means if their car broke down they couldn’t get to work and could be fired. And most can’t afford decent housing or healthcare anymore. One in five Americans can’t afford the meds their doctors prescribe to them!

I told this guy that what I’m saying is that “Billionaires” are bad for America! They represent the small group of people who use the most abusive unfair aspects of our economy like wage suppression & tax havens to accumulate more wealth than any person can spend in a lifetime, while our roads and bridges, middle class and public schools crumble in disrepair.

I was asked about all the money I might spend helping the poor if I were a billionaire. It’s not about how much charity you give if you’re a billionaire, I replied. The problems in society today are so immense that it takes all of us together as a government to fix things like roads, bridges, schools and healthcare. Charity isn’t enough when the basic foundations of society are allowed to crumble because of greed and corruption.

Charity isn’t enough when the basic foundations of society are allowed to crumble because of greed and corruption.

The billionaires give charity while maintaining the very systemic failures that make it nearly impossible for the poor and middle class to move up the economic ladder today, so their should be no billionaires. At least not until there’s a basic foundation of human dignity for all and some standards for how one accumulates wealth such as not exploiting workers with low wages or customers privacy by giving them a false sense of human belonging in some social media enterprise.

It’s not about how much billionaires give, its that they take too much to begin with.

Maybe if everyone were billionaires or thought of themselves as such we could end poverty, war and other such problems he suggested. Well I wrote, I love your positive nature brother, but people seeing ourselves as billionaires won’t stop poverty, war and other systemic problems. That will take getting big money out of politics so the people’s voices can reign supreme and not the giant corporations like the military industrial complex, big oil, big pharma and insurance companies that prey on the rest of us because they want “growth” at all costs for their top shareholders.

He suggested we shouldn’t send our kids to schools with the idea of them becoming good employees, but to see themselves as future billionaires instead. I think he was suggesting they have a positive mindset and see themselves as worth more in life.

I agree we should not send kids to school to be employees but to be great human beings instead. To find self love, inner peace, integrity and good character, and find their own way in life to make a life not just a living!
But our schools now mostly in disrepair understaffed and underfunded were designed to funnel kids to factory jobs. Many of which now only exist in China thanks to greedy billionaires who moved them to exploit cheap labor.

Well money shouldn’t be everything. In Star Trek they had no money, he wrote. Yeah, now you’re talking my friend! :) I would LOVE to live in a Star Trek world where we got rid of money and simply gave everyone whatever they needed to live in human dignity. There is more than enough for everyone to have enough to eat and live without suffering!

If we started by creating Universal Basic Income and giving out an American Dividend of $1,000 a month to all Americans for example in some similar way to what presidential candidate Andrew Yang advocates, then at least people would not go homeless or hungry and many would have the breathing space to go start their own business and leave the job they hate but feel shackled to. As Mr. Yang puts it capitalism shouldn’t start at zero.

Some say that a Universal Basic Income would result in people being lazy not doing any work. Firstly, nobody could live on a $1000 a month. Secondly, people want to be productive, it is in our nature. We are creators. Be build stuff. We invent stuff. We do this because it’s in our nature, not just to get rich.

Also, if we simply got to know our neighbors and helped each other and traded time and services more we could reduce how much we have to earn and spend to survive! We really shouldn’t need a new phone every year and a giant new TV in every room and our cars too. We live lives stuffed with stuff, too much stuff. Mostly stuff we either pay to store or throw away in landfills until we work harder, longer hours to buy new stuff. I’m not saying the poor are not thrifty enough. I’m saying we should make and buy things that we value and that last, like we used to just a generation ago.

Productivity gains of machines were supposed to create a 3 day work week freeing people to go learn and live life! That was the promise for over 100 years now. But the top management and investor class took nearly every dollar gain of productivity while workers worked more hours for less money every year!

People work ourselves literally to death! In Japan they have a name for it, Koroshi which is basically death by overwork. In China they have the 996 culture where employees are expected to work 9am to 6pm for 6 days a week. And here in the U.S. our life expectancy in America has fallen for 3 years in a row! Still the cable TV news spread the idea that “the economy is good” or strong, just because people have jobs. Slavery was a full employment plan. Jobs aren’t everything. What too many of us don’t have is hope, or lives beyond work and debt.

We don’t need to think of ourselves as billionaires I told this good person online, no. Instead of thinking of ourselves as billionaires we should think of ourselves as human beings, as free men and women! We should value our days of life as precious because they are, we are! And not trade them so cheap for other people’s riches.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Joseph Segal

Joseph Segal

Advocate for a Fair Democracy. Building online tools for people working together for Fairness and intelligent Shared Prosperity. http://www.josephsegal.com