Let me start out by saying that I know many rich people who have a social conscience and for whom this post is not relevant. But I also know many who are wankers. And I’m sick of these wankers ruining it for all of us.
When I say ruining it, I mean doing dumb things like voting for Tony Abbott and for encouraging many others to do this too. ‘It’ in this scenario is our community. But the problem with many rich people is that they don’t even think they belong to a community. Many try to closet themselves away from the ‘general public’, because they think they’re above all that. A great example of this sort of attitude is the very existence of ‘poor doors’ which I came across in this article about London housing. Of course Australia doesn’t have ‘poor doors’ because we have hardly any apartment buildings, or even suburbs, where ultra-expensive-designed-for-the-very-rich housing is mixed in closely with more affordable housing, or even public housing. But apparently in London, developers often need to include affordable housing within apartment blocks in order to get planning approval. So what do these developers do to make sure their rich clientele don’t have to even see the poor tenants in the building, let alone have to breathe the same air as them? Yes, you guessed it. They have separate entrances. The apartheid between rich and poor – a glamorous lobby for the rich and a meagre side-entrance in a scummy lane for the poor. It’s almost as if the rich are scared they’ll catch ‘poor’ off their neighbours and would prefer to live in a closeted bubble where they don’t have to know these nasty poor people exist. Unless of course they need a taxi, or a teacher, or a meal at a restaurant, or a trades person or, god forbid, a nurse in a hospital.
I also note that there is now solid evidence, in the form of peer reviewed research, that proves many rich people have a sense of entitlement which presents as the ‘asshole effect’. Have you ever noticed that it’s the large, shiny, expensive cars which appear to be driven by the most aggressive, least-likely-to-let-you-into-traffic, most-difficult-to-share-the-road-with-drivers? If you have noticed this, it turns out it’s not just in your head, because this research shows that it really is the rich drivers who are the biggest wankers on the roads. And I think this road user behaviour is a perfect analogy for the problems rich wankers cause in our community. The key point of this research is that the rich weren’t wankers to begin with, unless of course they started out rich. But it actually shows that when people reach a certain level of wealth they believe they are entitled to exploit others, to behave rudely and to be mean to their community because they have earned this right. Is this a good time to mention that all three men involved in the last Liberal Federal leadership ballot are Members from three of the richest electorates in the country – Turnbull in Wentworth, Hockey in North Sydney and Abbott in Warringah? Funny that. Is it any surprise that these men were the architects of the meanest Federal Budget this country has ever seen?
So we know many rich people are wankers and it’s clear they’re ruining our community for everyone, and I agree there is probably little we can do to change these people’s behaviour. Their narcissism is likely entrenched. However I would like to try a new strategy for encouraging these rich wankers to think twice before ruining it for all of us again. I have been harping on about this topic a lot in recent months, and let me be upfront in saying I’m not about to give up on this quest, because it’s important. Wealth inequality. The rich think wealth inequality is great for them and they’re more than happy to continue promoting it. In fact, they think they’re entitled to snatch and grab as much of the country’s pie as they can get their grubby hands on. Many no doubt think their greed is as natural as the animal instinct for survival. Most of them think tax-evasion is clever. However, it’s time to question the very basis of this attitude and to question it loudly. Because wealth inequality is not just bad for all of us who aren’t rich. It’s also bad for the rich. And no, I’m not about to say it’s bad for them because they should care about other people and they’ll find much more happiness in human relationships with a diverse range of people rather than falling in love with money. I don’t really care about the happiness of the greedy. I’m saying that what is bad for the wealth of the community is also bad for the rich. The rich need all of us to be wealthier in order to maintain their own wealth. The rich need to pay their fair share of tax so that the government can fairly distribute wealth for the betterment of all of us. The rich need to learn that the pie must grow in order to keep growing their piece of it. A rising tide only lifts all boats if the boats are in the tide, not broken and stranded on the shore. If you don’t believe me, ask Joseph Stiglitz. He’s got a Nobel Prize for researching this very idea. Or just have a think about how the rich got rich in the first place. Sure, some of them make money from the money they already have. But think of it this way. If people work full time and can’t afford to buy the things that the rich are selling – such as mortgages, consumer goods, food, education, insurance, cars, then how are the rich going to hold onto their wealth? And back to education, if the masses aren’t educated successfully, who will work for the rich? Because no one ever got rich on their own. Wealth does not trickle down and this should be just as concerning for the rich as it is the poor. Australia needs a large and strong working and middle class in order for the country to maintain a successful community AND a successful economy. People can be wankers on their own, but they can’t be rich on their own. That’s what we need to tell them.