Monday, August 17

American Royalty

This is fascinating.

In a list of the top two hundred wealthiest people throughout history, adjusted for inflation, how many of them are from the United States?

One hundred and twenty-seven. (I counted it twice.) Over half (63.5%) of the richest people ever, in all of human history, were born here (or immigrated here in the case of eleven of them), and through some combination of hard work, luck, and economic conditions, have accumulated obscene levels of affluence.

I am serious about the word "obscene" by the way. I'm simultaneously horrified and intrigued by this, since, as an American, I have some connection to these people, however tenuous. My thoughts range from this to this to this, with the Roman Empire being the obvious comparison.

Do I have a solution? Not a chance. I don't even know if there is a solution, or if I'm even asking the right questions. My net worth is closer to zero than a billion, so it would be easy for me to jump to a conclusion that something should change, however, these thoughts tend to lead to something equally appalling.

It gives me hope when billionaires can reevaluate their rise to power, and shift their focus to philanthropy, like Rockefeller and Gates, however, I wonder if a unilateral attempt at goodwill is at odds with the ideal of a democracy.

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