On The Digital Revolution (March 22, 2010)
. . .
“Most, if not just about all, of the fortunes amassed in the last ten to twenty years were stolen. Nothing was created. Much was destroyed.”
“Jobs created jobs.”
“And to his credit he is still creating them. There are a few others who are producing and contributing, yet they are the rare exceptions. Scrutinize the “Forbes 400” list. Some have family money. Some made some contribution. Few of them have done much to produce a product or provide a service. The companies they overleveraged will soon overwhelm the economy. At best they structure affairs to shift risk to others or to the taxpayers. Successful businesses are dismembered and destroyed not created. That is the fundamental difference between the robber barons of olde and the robber barons of new.”
“No dispute here.”
“Taxing some of the stolen money is impossible when the government can be and has been taken over and overtaken by the small cabal that owns and runs the kleptocracy.”
“No dispute here.”
“Today we hold electrons not dollars. For a few seconds one afternoon, my computer indicated that there was nothing in my retirement account. All 000s. All goose eggs. That caught my attention. Seemed like a true harbinger of what will happen in the future. The system refreshed in a few seconds and reported familiar figures. What about a Digital Revolution that simply eliminates from all records ownership of any assets over five million dollars by any one person?
“Cyberactivities are the real weapons of mass destruction. They are also the weapons of mass creation. Sort of like nuclear technology that is creative when harnessed for positive ends and destructive when deployed for harmful ends. A five million dollar threshold will not impact me.”
“After the Digital Revolution, when you log onto your computer, you discover that you have no more than five million per person and ten million per couple including a personal residence, a vehicle, savings, golf clubs, polo saddles, etc. As a rough gauge of worth or value to the individual, the algorithm will treat assets within a class such as a residence, cabin, car or boat that has been owned the longest as the most valuable and will remain with the individual. The other assets will be randomly assigned to others.”
“No impact here, yet imagine the surprise one morning when someone wakes up to discover that he owns a fractional interest in a fractionally-rigged 76 foot sloop with rod rigging and a full complement of complimentary sails.”
“That only creates another travesty. Individuals who did not create an idea, work late at night or take a risk should not be rewarded gratuitously. The scheme would only contribute to the entitlement mentality that is such a defining part of the problem in contemporary America. No one seems to be producing good goods or undertaking productive activities; no one deserves any reward. However, the Digital Revolution would make a great novel. ‘Coming to a theater near you.’”
“Don’t worry, the Chinese will trigger the Digital Revolution, although the outcome will be far less equitable than your proposal. Perhaps you should worry.”
(World Water Day)
(Stewart Udall 1920 – 2010)
Bumper stickers of the week:
Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.
Carnegie made steel; today’s barons steal.