Magazine article In These Times

A Rebuttal

Magazine article In These Times

A Rebuttal

Article excerpt

Like Matt, we oppose the concentration of wealth and ownership. However, his approach of redistributing capital income, rather than reducing it, stands to make a bad situation worse.

Financial inequality is a symptom, not a cause, of capitalism. It exists because capitalists and managers control production while exploiting workers and the broader public for their own power and profit. This system scars communities and the environment in ways dividends cannot heal, causing death, disease and ecological collapse. Consequently, proposals that rely on ever-greater profits risk entrenching the current economy's worst abuses.

In particular, we oppose linking the performance of stocks, bonds and real estate to poverty reduction, as Matt's social wealth fund proposal would do. Goldman Sachs, Monsanto, Halliburton, Facebook, Amazon and the rest of the Fortune 500 are not merely money-making machines; they are sprawling private governance regimes that warp the lives of billions. What's good for General Motors is rarely good for the country (or planet). Furthermore, the hostility of central bankers to the working class, especially workers of color, should cause leftists to balk at reforms featuring a technocracy of fund managers.

The Norwegian and Alaskan experiences also cause us concern rather than comfort. Norway's sovereign wealth fund (SWF), for example, amassed its wealth by investing in fossil fuels. Today it invests in overseas real estate and earns passive income off the backs of workers in the Global South. …

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