An open letter to all billionaires, everywhere

Dear Sir or Madam,

In August 2020, Jeff Bezos became the richest man on the planet. Not only that, but he became the first person ever to exceed a personal wealth of US$200 billion (and that during a pandemic, too, when almost everyone else is suffering). Neil deGrasse Tyson explains that just half of that wealth, if converted to dollar bills and placed end to end, would stretch around the Earth 200 times. There would be some left over: enough, in fact,  to go to the Moon and back — ten times. Such numbers are almost inconceivable.

An image of the reverse of the Great Seal on the US dollar bill

Annuit Coeptis: “Providence Has Favored Our Undertakings” — Image credit: Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Now, I have no idea how your own riches were accumulated. Perhaps you inherited it: if so, I really think that you ought to consider the ultimate root of that. A great many injustices have been perpetrated throughout history; those who gained the spoils implemented social rules that allowed them to pass their winnings on to their progeny. Are you one of the beneficiaries of such? Or did you arise from humble beginnings, and become rich through ‘your own personal endeavours’? If that’s the case, I think that you should reflect upon the fact that you’ve benefited from input from society at large, in a great many ways.

Whichever of those routes to ‘greatness’ you’ve taken, you are, whether you believe it or not, suffering from egocentric bias (just like everyone else). Luck contributed to your success; you almost certainly don’t acknowledge that, and behave instead as though you are ‘clearly better’ than those less fortunate than yourself. This video elaborates on that:

Consider that there are now almost eight billion humans currently on Planet Earth. Just think how unlikely it is that you should be who you are, instead of someone else. “There, but for the Grace of God, go I”.

Some of you may be thinking that I am envious of your vast wealth. You’d be wrong: I do not aspire to accrue incredibly more money than I could possibly spend in even a thousand lifetimes. What I am, however, is sad. According to Professor Kevin Anderson, “Globally the wealthiest 10% are responsible for half of all emissions.” Were you aware of that?

We’re in a global climate emergency. We all bear responsibility for this situation; yet you are far better placed than anyone else to actually do something about it.

It’s time for you to step up.

[Edit 14Sep2020]
Postscript: Please read How philanthropy benefits the super-rich.

About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in ... wait, what?, balance, Core thought, GCD: Global climate disruption, People, Phlyarology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to An open letter to all billionaires, everywhere

  1. Much to think about in this post.

    A few years ago I watched a program on one of the terrestrial channels about London’s super rich. UK tax lawyer allow rich to get richer. Some of these rich give back to the world. One said, the uk have allowed us to get richer because of tax reason, thinking we will spend more money ; but I still only need one loaf of bread a week….

    I think private jets, helicopters etc that rich can afford impact the climate. But,the biggest issue to climate is the meat industry. But, that such a topic and impact on livelihood that no one highlights it. Also, even the dairy industry.

    The climate issue is not one sided. It has many angles. The rich getting richer is another issue that is just too painful for me. It is so unfair. A few rich, and billions of poor. Duality of unfairness.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: An open letter to all billionaires, everywhere – Karen O'Brien Country Music

  3. dr universe says:

    ay ay a fellow star talk and veritasium watcher!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: A belated ‘thank you!’ to my friend Dr Bob Rich | Wibble

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