Excellent article in the Guardian today shows how a sense of social responsibility amongst the rich has gone. We saw a sense of honor in which economic elites served in the military during the World Wars. Now, the military is disproportionately people of lower income strata. We got universities and libraries from the Rockefellers and the Carnegies. Now, we get self-serving academic "institutes" from the Brothers Koch that are intended to reinforce their political views.
The military is only one example of how disconnected wealthy Americans are from their country. The extraordinarily low rate of charitable giving among the rich offers more evidence. Even though we live in a time of entrenched income inequality, poor Americans actually give a higher percentage of their income to charity than the rich do. ....
The selfish worldview of America’s upper classes is underscored by their demand for ever greater financial rewards. In the last 50 years, CEO compensation rateshave soared. For example, in 1965 the typical CEO made about 20 times as much as average workers. By 2013, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio grew to nearly 300 to 1.
Despite their soaring share of the nation’s wealth, the rich go to enormous lengths to avoid paying taxes. A recent study found that wealthy Americans have moved $36bn into offshore tax havens.
The rich have also poured money into the campaigns of candidates who cut the government programs that most benefit middle-class and working-class Americans, such as public schools and healthcare. And the wealthy increasingly cluster in neighborhoods that isolate them from other social classes.
History shows it does not have to be this way.How do we re-connect the wealthy with the rest of us? Well, if people are making that much money, they are living in a cocoon. For example, I was walking along the waterfront a few weeks ago and totally awed by the Super-yachts, one with the helicopter on the back. They were docked apart from the other pleasure boats, sea going vessels that looked lean and mean and fast, and anonymous, like the big black limos that snake around big cities.
Us vs them indeed.