Imagine this for a second: There are three super-rich people living in Ponoka. Their collective and individual riches are so large it is impossible to get your head around the enormity of their wealth.
McQuaig and Brooks (I’ll refer to them later) have suggested a way to do this: think of getting a dollar every second. After one minute you have $60 dollars; after 12 days you have a million dollars — something we might never come close to. At the rate of a dollar a second it would take close to 34 years to become a billionaire. The enormity of the wealth of a billionaire is beyond any idea we can conceive of in the real world 99 per cent of us live in.
Now imagine these three people having control of our financial institutions. They’re not interested in investing in anything productive; things we consume or use, grocery products, or appliances, or homes or new technologies or vehicles. Their primary objective is nothing other than creating wealth, creating more money. They do this because being astronomically wealthy (and here astronomical is an appropriate word) is an end in itself. Because they have so much power and only want to make more money without investing, things happen in our community.
Because these three super-rich people essentially control most financial institutions, there’s really no investment in local industry or local enterprises. No jobs are created, and local businesses that rely on local, regional and provincial customers see a dramatic drop in sales.
This is what was happening to our world before the 1929 stock market crash and again in the 2007 financial collapse. So say Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks authors of The Trouble with Billionaires from which the above example is used. With their enormous economic power and political influence, the super-rich can determine the success or failure of our economies. When we talk about financial regulation it seems not only good sense but also an ethical responsibility. It is not about limiting free enterprise but limiting the self-interest of the super rich, whose influence can disrupt stable communities, create job losses and in the 21st century can foster economies with great inequality. All of us benefit from stable economies, where economic and social needs are met without significant disruption.
A stable economy is really for the 99 per cent who often have modest ambitions but who are embedded in communities, where they desire safety, functioning and effective institutions, and an inclusion of all its citizens.