Power, wealth and prestige are the three major forms of greed.
Unlike the very wealthy people in other countries, the American elites have power, wealth and prestige. Throughout U.S. history there has been no family of nobles, aristocrats, religious figures or royals to stop their vast accumulation of wealth. There has been no pressure of opposition from any military officials to oppose the wealth of major owners of big businesses in the United States; this makes the USA quite unique in its place in history. So, American owners of the ways of production are very different from such owners in Europe and Asia (Mills, 1959).
In the 21st century, we confront a situation where the time for exploration has ended because all the land of the commons has been taken. A vast amount of U.S. farmland is, in fact, owned by just a single person who has never been a farmer. In 2021, Nick Estes writes in the Guardian that:
Bill Gates has never been a farmer. So why did the Land Report dub him “Farmer Bill” this year? The third richest man on the planet doesn’t have a green thumb. Nor does he put in the back-breaking labor humble people do to grow our food and who get far less praise for it. That kind of hard work isn’t what made him rich. Gates’ achievement, according to the report, is that he’s largest private owner of farmland in the US. A 2018 purchase of 14,500 acres of prime eastern Washington farmland – which is traditional Yakama territory – for $171m helped him get that title.
In total, Gates owns approximately 242,000 acres of farmland with assets totaling more than $690m. To put that into perspective, that’s nearly the size of Hong Kong and twice the acreage of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, where I’m an enrolled member. A white man owns more farmland than my entire Native nation!
Regarding Native American philosophy, such ownership devastates the indigenous system of moral values, which greatly promotes sustainable living practices for families and respect for youth and future generations and which appears in the adage: “Take what you need from the land, and leave the rest as you found it.” The native population has been dwindled down to less than 1% of the U.S. population (CIA, 2022), and the top 1% own the vast majority of stocks on the market. The top 1% own most of the land and own more houses than the U.S. indigenous population of about 3.4 million people.
Extreme Inequality: Hundreds of billionaires and hundreds of thousands suffering homelessness
Despite this vast collection of wealth, there is a massive crisis concerning homeless Americans and tens of millions of Americans who go hungry each day. In some states, such as New York, it appears that there are 1,000 homeless people per each billionaire in 2021 (e.g., approximately 100,000 homeless people and 100 billionaires). It would not require a large portion of the wealth of the power elites to solve the problems of food insecurity and homelessness. However, the power elites are more interested in securing more wealth and power. They are extremely greedy, but they conceal this vice of theirs by owning and controlling the media outlets, which boast of their donations and charitable foundations.
The superwealthy in America lead LAVISH lifestyles. They have no community because they fly from mansion to luxury hotel to their third and fourth houses and yachts. They pay a very small proportion of their wealth in taxes. They believe that if they pay any tax, then they are good people, but if they find or create tax loopholes and pay very little in tax, then they believe they are intelligent. However, they are not the ones who do their own taxes. Thousands of others serve them constantly and continuously, and they have come to believe that they DESERVE it.
These people are not at all ordinary people, and so they lack empathy for most of us. The superwealthy have no burdens from family or neighbors ever. Their servants care for their family members. They have no neighbors because they fly from house to mansion and have so much land that they never have to get along with anyone for any extended period of time, except for the workers they pay to serve them. If they have a spouse, and they have children, their children are largely cared for by their servants, and the spouses have butlers and maids for housework, drivers for their multiple and separate luxury, antique, utility and sports vehicles. They have pilots for their private jets.
These ultrawealthy have a lot of power in America. They never need to work because they make more money off of interest accruing in their bank accounts or off of the banks that they own than most people can ever make during their life times, even if most people worked 50 hours per week for 50 years. They make most of their money but do not earn it. Nonetheless, they control the direction of work in the society, which right now, during the COIVID-19 pandemic, is largely invested in the design, production, sale and exportation of weapons and ammunition of war. This is obvious with the tens of thousands of new workers in weapons manufacturing corporations in America during the pandemic.
If the ultrawealthy want to build space ships, race cars, fancy luxury jets, hotels or mansions surrounded by forest and containing 50 rooms, then they do so for now. The ultrawealthy have old growth trees uprooted and moved to the land and mansions that they have accumulated through financial wizardry. They have been called “trophy trees” by The Wall Street Journal. Courtyards of billionaires’ mansions have become the homes of trees, such as the 150-year-old olive tree on the cover of the Wall Street Journal article.
Of course, billionaires do not do any of this sort of work themselves. They direct others to do the work for them. The superwealthy control the work and careers of millions of people, and they hire and fire them without shedding a tear for what the consequences are, inequality as class conflict.
The American ultrawealthy have the same mentality and behave in the same ways as the American slave owners during the era of chattel slavery because they have an overall carelessness for the rational complaints and rational plans for improvements of the economic system that oppresses the millions. The American slave owners did not care when the slaves complained about their conditions, and now the American ultrawealthy also do not care about the conditions of workers, such as the complaints of the long-time warehouse worker in New York who complained in 2020 that the conditions were unsafe for preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The worker was fired for his rational complaint, and then his character was smeared after he was subjected to surveillance.
The estimated number of sex slaves that are imported yearly into the USA are between 15,000 and 20,000. The women who are deemed to be highly skilled in the sexual arts and acts are used by the ultrawealthy because they are the ones who can afford them and their power has corrupted them in ways to take advantage of desperate people and desperate situations.
The ultrawealthy are pandemic profiteers. They have used the pandemic as a way to accumulate more wealth, and it is becoming clear that if you have power or wealth or prestige, then it is far easier to gain wealth. However, if you lack power, wealth and prestige, you are generally burdened with the everyday and ordinary tasks of life, such as tending to your family and working to be a breadwinner.
Dangerous False Beliefs and Actions Taken by the Power Elites
The American elites (those of the upper-upper class) do not have the capability to help the society (or the globe) out of the dire situation it is in because they BELIEVE they are part of the MIDDLE CLASS. The elites are so out of touch with reality that they see the particular goods and services of others that they do not own, such as specific mansions and yachts and night clubs that they know of but do not possess, and they come to believe that they must be part of the middle class because others own things that they want but do not have. The middle-lower class also has the same false belief. The people who are part of the middle-lower class falsely believe that they are in the middle class because they see the lower-lower class and realize that they are significantly better off than they are.
What is the significance of this? The upper-upper class and lower-middle class are firmly together when they vote for many of the same candidates in political elections. The poorer group of misguided people vote unknowingly against their own best interests. The richest group votes for their short-term best interests but fails to realize that they are undermining their own long-term best interests because increases in inequality lead to the inevitable problem that there will not be enough people who are able to consume the products that they mass produce.
The big businesses of major owners that produce goods and certain services have one massive flaw in OUR SOCIETY. These businesses lay waste to our planet, environments, oceans, rivers, lakes and aquifers with the poisonous afterlife of their products, packaging material and overuse of fossil fuels for distribution. The waste-values of the products and their consequences from big businesses are not identified by the government enough to stop the domino effect of species of great importance going extinct. The waste-values created by big businesses are not calculated in comparison to the use-values of their products. Moreover, the focus of the advertising and public relations and spokespeople is on exchange-values and use-values of their products as well as psychological manipulation to get people to buy their products sporadically.
In 1970, the USA surpassed 100 million tons of waste per year going to landfills, and by 2018, over 290 million tons of solid waste was managed, which is about five pounds per person per day on average. Obviously, the power elites are BLAMEWORTHY for this massive amount of waste production as they are the major owners of big businesses that produce most of it. However, they continue to escape this ever important and inevitable output of their types of business activity. They are the major owners of the mainstream media, and they utilize workers as propagandists and make smear campaigns against their targeted opposition.
The superwealthy run for political office, but they NEVER call themselves BUREAUCRATS or OFFICIALS, which they are. Instead, they call themselves “public servants,” and yet they do not serve or even want to serve the public, but rather they serve themselves ever larger portions of the American pie.
The superwealthy engage in excessive competitiveness. When they realize that they have the largest portion of the global pie, they do not just seek to gain more of it through legal and ethical business practices, but rather they invest their time, effort and money in global warfare so that they can destroy large portions of the global pie on the other side of the table. This serves them insofar as their slices of the global pie become comparatively larger than the others, and they falsely believe that they are winning in their ways.
In 2017, Yanis Varoufakis gave a lecture titled “The Future of Capitalism” where he maintained that:
The increasing concentration in the IT sector is creating the new technologies, which will do that which the Left has failed to do—overthrow capitalism. It is really very simple. The moment machines pass the Turing test properly, and you pick up the phone and do not know whether the person you are talking to is a human or a machine—the moment we are going to have 3-D printers operating as public utilities, you can send anything, any blueprint to it, and it can print from one pin to a motorcycle or to a car—the moment that this happens, we have not just a process of Schumpertarian creative destruction, but we have a process where economies of scale and the whole logic of corporate capitalism collapses. And at that point we have a major rupture where the political system, which has been completely depleted of any semblance of democracy, will not be able to regulate.
At that point, humanity will be facing a juncture. We will either move to a Star Trek-like utopia where technology becomes our slaves, and we manage to utilize its wealth-creating capacity for the purpose of the common good, which will be democratically determined and not technologically. Or we are going to move toward a Matrix-like dystopia where humans, independently of where they are the owners of these magnificent machines or the masses who are miserable and completely cut off from productive society, will all become servants to the machines.
A Call for Action is for Practical Solutions
With the direction of monopolistic corporations in America and their cronies in the military and the political realm, we need to organize and strike both fear and reason into the minds of the power elites. The time for ending psychologically manipulative advertisements is now. The time for ending the amount of waste output daily by big businesses is also now. We must thoughtfully consider the future of humanity because future generations will NEVER be able to lay as much waste to our planet as generations laid waste during the 20th and early 21st centuries.
The decisions-makers in OUR society are the power elites who are centralized and are blameworthy for their decisions, such as the dropping of the atomic bomb in 1945, the invasions and devastations of Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, and the sales of weapons and ammo for war around the world during the pandemic. Such decisions are not made by and for the people or even by a democratic society. These are decisions of the power elites who are inadequate as leaders and who are blinded by their own errors, fortunes and by the circles of wealthy individuals they meet. The power elites determine the direction of each workplace that they control. The corporate power elites are worse now than ever before because each of these individual power elites delegates work to thousands and thousands of people, whereas during the 20th century each corporate power elite delegated work to just hundreds.
A solution is therefore to empower workers so that democracy can be initiated in workplaces, which will increase safety, efficiency, fairness and professional communications. In many countries in Europe (e.g., Germany), the workers have representation on each board of directors of the company so that workers play important roles in the decisions of their corporation. In Germany, the people, who denounce the irregularities or “blow the whistle” on unsafe, inefficient and unfair practices at their workplace, are able to go through different official channels that are created specifically for workers informing their organization of wrongdoing at its own workplaces.
We encourage you to contact and collaborate with us in order to strategize, publish and implement real world decisions that prevent the overuse of fuels and excessive production of unnecessary products. We must return to using natural materials and transform our society into one that is both technologically advanced but also agrarian and sustainable.
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
CIA. (2022). The World Factbook-United States. https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/united-states/
Estes, Nick. (2021). “Bill Gates is the biggest private owner of farmland in the United States. Why?” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/apr/05/bill-gates-climate-crisis-farmland
Mills, Charles Wright. (1959). The Sociological Imagination. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
O’Keefe, Eric. (2021). “Bill Gates: America’s Top Farmland Owner.” The Land Report. https://landreport.com/2021/01/bill-gates-americas-top-farmland-owner/
Citation: Brant, William Allen. (2022). “Inequality as Class Conflict.” Ethical Conflict Consulting. April edition. https://ethicalconflictconsulting.com/conflict-management/inequality-as-class-conflict-2/