image provider

Privilege

The CurrCon Java Applet displays prices on this web page converted with today’s exchange rates into your local international currency, e.g. Euros, US dollars, Canadian dollars, British Pounds, Indian Rupees… CurrCon requires an up-to-date browser and Java version 1.8, preferably 1.8.0_112. If you can’t see the prices in your local currency, Troubleshoot. Use Firefox for best results.

Privilege

Sometimes I feel compelled to state the obvious, just so it is out there explicitly. This is such as essay. The notion of privilege has caused so much human misery, I thought I would like to dissect it.

Historically

A certain freedom and a certain equality passed out of human life when men ceased to wander. Men paid in liberty and paid in toil, for safety, shelter and regular meals. By imperceptibe degrees, the common man found the patch he cultivated was not his own; it belonged to the god and he had to pay a fraction of his produce to the god. Or the god had given it to the king, who exacted his rent and tax. Or the king had given it to an official, who was the lord of the common man. And sometime the god or the king or the noble had work to be done and then the common man had to leave his patch and work for his master.
~ H. G. Wells (born:1866-09-21 died:1946-08-13 at age:79) The Outline of History page 228.
Historically, as soon as populations grow to a certain size, they stratify. An elite class forms. The entire society creates a myth to maintain the stability of the elite. The Egyptians created the myth that their Pharaoh was a divine being. The Hindus created the caste system supported by the myth of rebirth merit to justify the extreme privilege of the Brahmins. The European nobility created the myth of their inherent genetic bloodline superiority. The North Americans created the myth that those who had wealth or who were children of those of wealth were superior people, harder working and more intelligent.

Purpose

In earlier times, there was a benefit to society as a whole to have an elite. Freed from manual labour, the elite had time to become literate, to study and to invent. You will notice all the early inventors, scientists and philosophers were from the privileged class. They were the only ones with sufficient free time and resources to experiment.

Excess

Thorsten Veblen wrote a classic book about the silliness of the leisure classesThorsten Veblem wrote a classic book about the silliness of the leisure classes and their wasteful status displays.
book cover recommend book⇒The Theory of The Leisure Classto book home
by Thorstein Veblen 978-0-14-018795-3 paperback
birth 1857-07-30 died:1929-08-03 at age:72 978-0-8488-1659-9 hardcover
publisher Penguin 978-0-942563-00-9 audio
published 1994-02-01 B00A73AIMA kindle
This is one of the most amusing books I ever read. It is funny by being so on. He coined the terms conspicuous consumption and conspicous waste to explain modern status displays.
Australian flag abe books anz abe books.ca Canadian flag
German flag abe books.de amazon.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de Chapters Indigo Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es Chapters Indigo eBooks Canadian flag
Spanish flag iberlibro.com abe books.com American flag
French flag abe books.fr amazon.com American flag
French flag amazon.fr Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag abe books.it Nook at Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag amazon.it Kobo American flag
India flag junglee.com Google play American flag
UK flag abe books.co.uk O’Reilly Safari American flag
UK flag amazon.co.uk Powells American flag
UN flag other stores
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.
Originally, these antics were amusing, but today these excesses are destroying the planet, as well and oppressing others to the point of murder. Globalisation, international corporations and immense fortunes have made it possible for elites to squeeze the rest of the population, especially the third world, as never before.

Entitlement

One thing you can count on, is a member of an elite will never question whether he deserves such status. He will tell the silliest lies to himself to justify his privilege. But mostly he just takes it as a given, as part of the natural flow of the universe and sunrises and sunsets. For example, North Americans who are the global elite, believe they are hard done by when their incomes are still thousands of times higher than those in the third world. They will tell you with straight face the Chinese are lucky to find jobs in Nike sweat shops to make shoes for  $0.06 USD an hour. They will tell you that $0.50 USD a day is too much to pay a man to grow and pick their coffee. An American believes his country manages to consume 1/3 of the world resource pie with only 1/17 of the population because Americans are more hard working. It never dawns on him that the reason the rest of world hands over such a big share is that America commands a military bigger than all other countries combined and has military bases spanning the globe.

Oddly, you find the non-elites equally enthusiastically supporting the privilege of the elites. For example, in the USA, the majority of ordinary Americans voted Republican in 2004, thus endorsing a tax holiday for the wealthy. Most Britons are happy to fund the pomp of Queen Elizabeth.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is an elite is never aware that their status is both undeserved and unfair. They always fight for ever greater privilege. Change comes, often violently, when those denied even a bare livelihood to provide for luxuries for the elite, put their feet down. This is harder than ever to do, since globalisation provides the ultimate union-busting tool available, a planet of absolutely desperate scab labour.
book cover recommend book⇒Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class — And What We Can Do about Itto book home
by Thom Hartmann 978-1-57675-463-4 paperback
birth 1951-05-07 age:65 978-1-57675-414-6 hardcover
publisher Berrett-Koehler Publishers 978-1-60509-869-2 eBook
published 2007-04-28 978-1-4332-1514-8 audio
  B001AFF25M kindle
This book is simple and somewhat repetitive. It argues five main points.
  1. A vigorous middle class is essential for democracy.
  2. Throughout history, the elites have done battle to eliminate the middle class and scoop all the wealth for themselves.
  3. Starting with Reagan, the lower and middle classes in the USA have become poorer while the elite’s wealth has exploded into the stratosphere.
  4. The elites tell all manner of lies to trick the middle class into giving up their power and wealth to the elites.
  5. You have a choice:
    1. government can run things, via representatives responsible to the people.
    2. corporate CEOs can run things, responsible only to their shareholders.
    When you consider the alternative, big government managing society does not look so bad.

Hartmann argues that historically the wealthy elite have always worked to eliminate the middle class and hence stomp out democracy. They can then run things for their own ultimate financial benefit. We are going through a period now where the middle class is collapsing as a result of the corporatocracy and wealth of the tiny elite at the top is exploding. Since they control the media, they spread all manner of myths that make people vote against their own self interest in favour of those of the elites.

The book also discusses how the war business hijacks government to provide it with endless streams of money for perpetual unnecessary war.

Australian flag abe books anz abe books.ca Canadian flag
German flag abe books.de amazon.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de Chapters Indigo Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es Chapters Indigo eBooks Canadian flag
Spanish flag iberlibro.com abe books.com American flag
French flag abe books.fr amazon.com American flag
French flag amazon.fr Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag abe books.it Nook at Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag amazon.it Kobo American flag
India flag junglee.com Google play American flag
UK flag abe books.co.uk O’Reilly Safari American flag
UK flag amazon.co.uk Powells American flag
UN flag other stores
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.
book cover recommend book⇒The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Strongerto book home
by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson Hartmann 978-1-60819-341-7 paperback
publisher Bloomsbury 978-1-60819-036-2 hardcover
published 2009-12-22 978-1-4526-5505-5 audio
  B002XHNNKW kindle
The book explains the research that shows that equality, even more than economic growth, determines wellbeing. Equality improves health, lawfulness, civil participation and trust. The wealthiest citizen of the most equal countries are better off than the wealthiest citizens in the unequal countries like Britain and the USA. Further, inequality fosters consumerism and ecological destruction. At the time of writing this book has still not been published. I learned about it from a speech by Ed Broadbent, former leader of the NDP at the NDP convention in Halifax.
Australian flag abe books anz abe books.ca Canadian flag
German flag abe books.de amazon.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de Chapters Indigo Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es Chapters Indigo eBooks Canadian flag
Spanish flag iberlibro.com abe books.com American flag
French flag abe books.fr amazon.com American flag
French flag amazon.fr Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag abe books.it Nook at Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag amazon.it Kobo American flag
India flag junglee.com Google play American flag
UK flag abe books.co.uk O’Reilly Safari American flag
UK flag amazon.co.uk Powells American flag
UN flag other stores
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.

According to Neil Brooks, the author of The Trouble With Millionaires in Canada, in theory there is a progressive tax system so that the richer you are, the higher the tax rate. However, there are so many loopholes, everyone pays almost the same rate, with the poorest paying a slightly higher rate.

book cover recommend book⇒The Trouble with Billionairesto book home
by Linda McQuaig 978-0-14-317454-7 paperback
birth 1951 age:65 978-0-670-06419-9 hardcover
publisher Viking Canada
published 2010

The glittering lives of billionaires may seem like a harmless source of entertainment. But such concentrated economic power reverberates throughout society, threatening the quality of life and the very functioning of democracy. It’s no accident that the United States claims the most billionaires — but suffers among the highest rates of infant mortality and crime, the shortest life expectancy, as well as the lowest rates of social mobility and electoral political participation in the developed world.

Our society tends to regard large fortunes as evidence of great talent or accomplishment. Yet the vast new wealth isn’t due to an increase in talent or effort at the top, but rather to changing social attitudes legitimizing greed and government policy changes that favour the new elite.

Australian flag abe books anz abe books.ca Canadian flag
German flag abe books.de amazon.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de Chapters Indigo Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es Chapters Indigo eBooks Canadian flag
Spanish flag iberlibro.com abe books.com American flag
French flag abe books.fr amazon.com American flag
French flag amazon.fr Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag abe books.it Nook at Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag amazon.it Kobo American flag
India flag junglee.com Google play American flag
UK flag abe books.co.uk O’Reilly Safari American flag
UK flag amazon.co.uk Powells American flag
UN flag other stores
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.

This page is posted
on the web at:

http://mindprod.com/money/privilege.html

Optional Replicator mirror
of mindprod.com
on local hard disk J:

J:\mindprod\money\privilege.html
logo
Please the feedback from other visitors, or your own feedback about the site.
Contact Roedy. Please feel free to link to this page without explicit permission.

IP:[65.110.21.43]
Your face IP:[54.163.129.96]
You are visitor number