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Guy Sorman
Where the “Super-Rich” Give Back « Back to Story

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I think that there is a huge difference between a Bil Gates or George Washington who set up a business and the Senior Managers in public listed companies who often destroy wealth or at least domestic jobs, for short term profit increases.
I work part time in the evenings for public listed company, I do see several senior managers who have been "shoe-horned" into their posts due to contacts.
A new CEO that comes into a failing company and over five years turns it round, saves the jobs and leaves it making, say $50 million a year. For course s/he deserves a very high wage and even the full $50 million final year profit as a bonus, no problem.
When you have a master degree studied at night after work, have the difficult areas to manage and see the "cousin of the boss" top spoon feed private schooled, then MBA, given the easy area and promoted above you it is annoying to say the least. Then you see said individual turn the profitable company into a shell, with everything outsources and insufficient re-investment to survive long term, but short term profits up. Said individual "in the network" is given the next company to hollow out on even higher wages, before his previous work of destroying the firm starts to unravel. The middle managers then see the consultant come in, cut and burn back to a much smaller firm, many loyal workers and managers let go, it is unfair.
This is not a rare situation, too often companies that are publicly lists have a kind of network among the CEO's and senior managers that neither really adds value or produces long term healthy companies.
Personally I think Germany still has a manuafacturing industry as the manufacturing is family run and the family runs them for the long term. Not the short term profit maximisation and long ruin.
As a final point I own a company, a small one, of course my children should run it if they want to, it my company. BUT a public limited company is the property of the shareholders, and the shoe horning in of the network is not appropriate. This is especially true of the City of London where I have worked briefly.
Super-Rich? In the 90s I once worked with an individual who I think made $3 million + a day. I was making about $500 a day at that time. Shortly afterward I went to Haiti, still making the $500 a day. There most of the people weren't making $1000 a year. The guy making $3 mil was super-rich to me but i was super-rich to the Haitians. i think its all from where you stand

The author states that there are now two economic categories "those who work for local markets and receive local compensation, on one side; and those who, as part of a global market, have access to salaries and profits of planetary dimensions."

As a local business owner and as someone who values our "community", I find that many of us extend helping hands in numerous, significant ways to local individuals. This makes a measurable impact on our quality of life on a daily basis and helps make life worth living.
... the emergence of a historically unprecedented social class: the “super-rich.”

The writer must surely be joking, and not just at this point.
The phrase "give back" a problem, unless of course you're referring to people who got rich by taking from others (read: engaging in crony capitalism). Value creators don't take, so they merely give.

The people who complain about "widening wealth inequality" are just jealous.

There will always be the Oprahs, and A-Rods, Michael Jordans and Shaqs, along with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates who, because of some special talent, make a lot more than you or I.

Instead of complaining about them, grow up and get over it.
Rich people in the US are already ‘sharing’ their wealth with the rest of us. The US has the most progressive tax system in the world, meaning it relies on the wealthiest Americans to pay most of the country's taxes - and they do. The top 25% of earners pay 85%

Quote: “a new study on inequality by researchers at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris reveals that when it comes tohousehold taxes (income taxes and employee social security contributions) the U.S. "has the most progressive tax system and collects the largest share of taxes from the richest 10% of the population." As Column 1 in the table below shows, the U.S. tax system is far more progressive—meaning pro-poor—than similar systems in countries most Americans identify with high taxes, such as France and Sweden.”

In fact about half of tax filers deduct themselves out of paying ANY federal income tax at all. It would be accurate to say that they are not contributing their ‘fair share’.

But the hard truth is that raising taxes on the wealthy yet again will generate little revenue. There just aren’t enough rich people to cover all the country’s expenses.
Roberta Griffin May 02, 2013 at 6:30 AM
It's not the super-rich in the United States who are the main cause of our economic distress. Many of them do,in fact, generously support good causes. It's the petty politicians who should be representing the people but only look out for the own welfare who are the biggest problem. They will not enact legislation that responds to the needs of the people they represent. Where are the bills to rein in the excesses of Wall Steet and large corporations? Where is the vision that supports education, infrastructure, fair pay and job security as an investment in the future our country?

I don't believe that the super-rich expect tax shelters, private toll roads and medical benefits, exclusive gated communities and elite schools for their children and grandchildren at the expense of the middle class and the poor. But, they are human beings like the rest of us, and you can't expect them not to turn the cowardice and avarice of our politicians to their own advantage! Why should the wealthy volunteer to give up their good fortune? Our country was built on the idea that "all men are created equal", but sharing the wealth and raising up the living standards of all has been forgotten in the overheated and hateful debate about who is right and who is wrong. Americans have lost their sense of balance, civility and fair play.

The rule of just labor laws, fairly enacted and fairly administrated, will enable those who work for a living to have a sense of security. They will be able save for the future, buy homes and ensure the education of their children.

Confidence, hope in the American dream of success and belief in the future is eroding to the tipping point--like the collapse of the building that killed the workers in Bangledesh.

Michael Mathias May 02, 2013 at 2:22 AM
I totally agree with the last sentence, but I fear that many european super-rich do not understand what being a member of human community means.
This is an indeed learned essay on how Life Is Not Fair with a dash of morality: take the high road--the Calvinist one, the Ben Franklin one, the (essentially?) American one, if you idealize the U.S.
But, now, how 'bout the European tradition of the benevolent despot? That one is already lapping at American shores. Prime example: Mayor Bloomberg! Anti-NRA ads and all! He's my hero.
Philanthropy, noble as it may be,has done little to provide a safety net for the poor. In the USA the disparity between rich and poor continues to grow apace, despite the generosity of some of the rich. The rich donate for all sorts of reasons to all sorts of causes. The overall results are incoherent from a policy perspective.
Philanthropy is not a systematic way of dealing with the social needs of a just and fair society.
A fan of the super-rich May 01, 2013 at 7:35 PM
"Such gifts would not constitute charity; they are better understood as the price one pays for remaining a member of the human community." Very insidious! Call it what you like, giving something away in return for something you deem less valuable (or in return for nothing at all) for the perceived benefit of the other IS charity. If the super-rich value "remaining a member of the human community" (gag reflex!) more than the money you seem to think they should give away in "not charity", then why do they need to be urged or told to do it? Surely it would be a bargain for them? And if they don't value "membership", then how is it "not charity" that they are urged to give up?

If people become wealthy through offering a service or good, what's it to the non coerced recipients of the service or the good? The super-rich need to "seek a kind of forgiveness" (second gag reflex) for being the source of things people value more than their money? If it's through talent or hard work then let them keep their reward. If it's not, but through pure good fortune, then take it up with the universe!

This is a message of envy, prettified though it may be.
Gilbert W. Chapman May 01, 2013 at 4:55 PM
While in college some 40 years ago, I developed this thought ~

"Generally speaking, one man with a million dollars will do far more good for Mankind than one million people with one dollar each."

After four decades of observing our World, I would add only one phrase ~

"And, any government with an 'extra' one million dollars will do more harm to Mankind than those one million people, with one dollar each, could ever dream of in a lifetime."