What happens if we destroy wealth? We get a perfect society

The wealthy have today accumulated so much wealth and power that they are controlling us to produce more wealth for them.

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Why would someone need hundreds of thousands of euros to buy solid bars of gold that will presumably be left to sit in a high-security bank? That’s not the question we should ask ourselves. We should instead ponder why, deep inside, most of us aspire to own this much money and gold ourselves. Because it is the answer to this question that will allow us to stop being manipulated by the rich.

Mauritius’ ex-finance minister, Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, claims he used the €400,000 (or is it €1.1 million?) he obtained as a loan from the SBM to acquire a fulsome amount of gold. Actual tangible bars of the yellow, solid stuff. Wow.

The media has predictably jumped on the whole saga: how much money did Lutchmeenaraidoo actually obtain as part of the loan? Did he benefit from a preferential interest rate? Why did he ask for Euros and not Mauritian rupees? Those questions are legitimate and will hopefully lead to real answers — which the people is entitled to.

But this saga is also an ideal opportunity to start an important debate: one about the diabolical entity that is wealth.

Mark Herpel/Flickr

Wealth is a decent society’s cyanide. It is the source of all evils. It is also what so many of us are brainwashed to aspire to. Bright minds are becoming bankers, not to help needy people prepare their pensions nor to empower small businesses to become sustainable, but to accrue personal wealth in record time. Other bright minds are increasingly encouraged to pervert the nobility of their professions in favour of an ever-increasing need for more personal wealth.

Wealth really shows its unrivalled viciousness when it corrupts and turns people into selfish beings who rob others without even realising.

Acquiring hundreds of thousands of euros from a bank to acquire solid bars of gold is nothing short of robbery — even if the transaction is perfectly legal. Because keeping solid bars of gold inert in a bank somewhere does not contribute to our economy. It helps no one, apart from Lutchmeenaraidoo himself, and deprives society of endless possibilities.

When you use money to buy something, the cash is passed along to other individuals. Those individuals will pass that money to others as they buy more, invest more and so on. This is how it goes. The money cycles through society and some people at least benefit.

By contrast, the very purpose of keeping money in the form of solid bars of gold is to prevent that money from circulating back in society. It keeps the money close, and safe for use by one person, eroding it of all of its beneficial potential for society. A finance minister taking a bank loan to acquire such “inert money” is thus the ultimate act of selfishness because it deprives those citizens he was voted to look after.

Unfortunately, wealth does not breed only selfishness. Wealth also brings power. Our ministers are millionaires, those who sit opposite them in parliament are millionaires, those who sign our checks every month are millionaires, those who keep our money “safe” in banks are millionaires. We are but a pawn in a play produced, directed and savoured by millionaires.

The wealthy have today accumulated so much wealth and power that they are controlling us to produce more wealth for them. Give them more wealth, they tell us, and the money will “trickle down” to us eventually. A lie! Six years ago, 388 billionaires owned more than Earth’s poorest half. Today, it only takes 62 people to own more than the poorest half.

But, it’s not all grim. Echoing the words of Russell Brand, the maverick British leftist activist, the capitalist system is the manifestation of the greed of a few and the manipulation of the many. The greed, the selfishness, is not the common denominator of the people. Most of us are decent, fair and good. It is this majority that is being manipulated.

Imagine what this majority could do if it was not manipulated, if it was not brainwashed into thinking that wealth is God, if the chain of capitalism was ruptured. There would be no selfishness, no greed, to corrupt society. We would automatically get a society that values decency, fairness and goodness. Where does wealth come into this? It doesn’t. And that’s the point.

Why do we need wealth if its absence will lead to a better society? Why do we want to accumulate ever more wealth if it’s not going to help the people? Why does one need solid bars of gold in a bank at all?

^^^

A slightly-modified version of this article was first published in Weekly Mauritius. Can’t recommend regularly buying the magazine enough. It’s out every Thursday.