Home > Uncategorized > Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property?!

Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property?!

from David Ruccio


Almost 30 thousand people joined the ranks of the global super-rich last year, as booming global stock markets and corporate profits boosted the fortunes of the already very-rich and bumped them up into the ultra-high-net-worth bracket.

The global population of ultra-high-net-worth people, classed as those with more than $30 million in assets, increased by 12.9 percent last year to a record 255,810 people,  while their combined wealth surged by 16.3 percent to $31.5 trillion, according to a report by research firm Wealth-X.


Not surprisingly, most of the gains were captured by those at the very top of the global wealthy pyramid. While all six tiers recorded double-digit growth in ultra wealthy numbers of between 13 and 15 percent, the fastest- growing tier was that of billionaires, which increased by a net 357 to a record high of 2,754 individuals. Almost half (48 percent) of the global ultra wealthy population had a net worth of between $30 million and $50 million, with the number of individuals in each tier diminishing steadily as the wealth pyramid rises. Average net worth for the approximately 122,500 ultra-high-net-worth individuals in the lower tier was $38 million, rising to $342 million for those in the $250-500-million bracket, and a substantial $3.3 billion for the elite group of billionaires. On a collective basis, only those individuals in the top two tiers of the pyramid—with a net worth of more than $500 million—experienced an increase in average net worth in 2017.

All of that makes perfect sense, given the trajectory of global capitalism during 2017. Notwithstanding the fears occasioned by surprising political events (such as the protracted negotiations for Brexit and the vagaries of Donald Trump’s presidency), the fact is last year represented a “sweet spot” for the tiny group at the top of the global economy, “supporting robust wealth gains in the financial, commodity, technology and industrial sectors.”


But then the folks at Wealth-X want us to believe that most of the wealth was “self-made,” based on market conditions that

were clearly supportive of personal enterprise and successful investment, driven by higher financial-sector returns, entrepreneurial wealth creation in Asia and further dynamic growth in technology-related industries.

Clearly, this is not the kind of wealth that represents the property of small artisans and peasant farmers, which in fact is being marginalized and destroyed on a daily basis by the growth of finance, manufacturing, and technology—the primary sources of the wealth of the world’s ultra-high-net-worth people.

Nor is it the property of the working-class, since the wealth they create stands opposed to them and serves as the means of extracting even more surplus from the growing army of wage-laborers across the globe—in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Europe, and North America.

There’s nothing hard-won, self-acquired, or self-earned about the wealth owned by the world’s ultra-high-net-worth individuals. With their cadre of accountants, tax advisers, and financial consultants (not to mention the politicians whose campaigns they finance), they manage to capture, invest, and keep in the form of cash a large portion of the surplus created by workers toiling away in factories and offices around the planet.

Their personal property is therefore social wealth, created by the united action of all members of society. Only when it is made into common property, into the property of all members of society, will it lose its antagonistic class character.

  1. Helen Sakho
    September 13, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    You are absolutely right. Please just add to this the rate of knowledge (reading, writing, mathematics) of young Americans as compared to other OEDCs, and add to this the extremely quick MBA programme coming to London from Harvard. And do please read in conjunction with my earlier contribution just now.

  2. September 20, 2018 at 8:22 am

    According to a study published in ‘Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin’ in 2013, wealth tends to increase a person’s sense of entitlement, which in turn can lead to narcissistic behaviors. Paul Piff of the University of California at Berkeley told PsyPost “there is something about wealth that gives rise to a sense of entitlement, a sense that one deserves more good things in life than others, which in turn gives rise to an increased or inflated sense of self-importance, vanity, grandiosity, and omnipotence (narcissism).” According to the study as a person’s level of privilege rises, that person becomes increasingly self-focused – in a sense, becoming the center of their own world and worldview.” This all suggests that wealth shapes an ideology (creed, sometimes almost religious) of self-interest and entitlement that’s transferred culturally from one generation to the next. So apparently, the modern wealthy and powerful are not that much different from the Scrooges of England, the Robber Barons of the US, or the monarchs of 12th century feudalism. Wealth and power make them self-absorbed, selfish, arrogant, and finally extremely intolerant. They become, to borrow a Nazi word, Übermensch. Nazis took the word from Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche used it to mean “Beyond-Man,” “Superman,” “Overman” “Superhuman,” “Hyperman,” “Hyperhuman.” The term Übermensch was utilized frequently by Hitler and the Nazi regime to describe their idea of a biologically superior Aryan or Germanic master race; a form of Nietzsche’s Übermensch became a philosophical foundation for the National Socialist ideas. Their conception of the Übermensch, however, was racial in nature. The Nazi notion of the master race also spawned the idea of “inferior humans” (Untermenschen) which could be dominated and enslaved; this term does not originate with Nietzsche. Do the wealthy and powerful move toward Nazism? In many instances, yes. And they often bring those who do their political and financial bidding along for the ride. The US is particularly vulnerable to the corruptions of wealth. From the earliest as a nation, Americans validated a nation of small, independent farmers and craftsmen. Wealth was suspect: it generated vice and corrupted people and nations. Competition was valued as a source of innovation and efficiency. In addition, the hard-working small producers of this economic vision were thought to make ideal citizens. Uncorrupted by wealth, and rendered impervious to political pressure by their economic self-sufficiency, they were able, sensibly and honorably, to recognize and promote the communal interest that should lie at the center of public policy. Citizenship and patriotism were equated with self-sacrifice, the subordination of self-interest to the greater good of the nation. When industrialism and industrial moguls swept the world, including the US and companies/corporations came to dominate the economy they assassinated this vision. Leaving the corruption of super companies and the super-rich. We’re in some deep shit.

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