A Billion. Over the past decade there’s been a lot of discussion about this particular number! The primary focus of the discussion is surrounding the very small amount of people on this that have acquired a billion currencies! The notion of a Billionaire has come into question especially in the last year, when candidates like Bernie Sanders and the Labour Party in the UK have said we should probably not have any billionaires. In a Capitalist society, the idea is that you should want to be a billionaire! It’s the ultimate goal and the grand prize is getting all the things you ever wanted and own everything including nature and possibly also God. It’s so elusive that even our television game shows can’t create billionaires, just loser millionaires! And the real question is: Should we really want to be a billionaire? And why should we even want this goal?
Asking a question like this is completely ludicrous to some people. In a fully unfettered capitalist system, wanting to be a billionaire makes sense. Capitalism is a system based on the acquisition of monetary wealth in exchange of goods & services. Not only that, but it’s about getting the most goods and services for the least amount of monetary wealth spent. That way we can have a bunch of shit and a bunch of money! It’s getting your cake and eating it in front of a bunch of starving people to ensure they know they can’t have any cake. And proves that even billionaires really enjoy a good sale!
Billionaires are like dragons. There’s not a lot of them around. They’re out of touch from humanity. They live in some mountainous areas, seldom seen by regular folk. They hoard a bunch of shit that we the people think we want but probably really don’t need. And eventually most of us are going start hunting them for sport because of the shit they’ve hoarded. And much like dragons, billionaires burn shit down to protect their hoarded stuff. Instead of breathing fire, they breathe out lobbyists to evade taxes and change policies.
Questioning the existence of billionaires is seen as a sin in Capitalism. It means you don’t want to work hard to to acquire this immense level of wealth, goods and services. But hard work isn’t how these people got their wealth. It’s not say at some point these billionaires didn’t work hard, but that was well before they were billionaires. Usually these people acquired their monetary wealth with luck and ensuring those working for them didn’t reap the rewards of the work they did. But this is not the story that is sold to us.
We’re sold a story that through hard work, determination and believing in the equality of Capitalism, we all can be billionaires. This is a lie. Which is evident in how the Millennial generation is treated. Millennials are called the lazy generation. But I’d like to know what’s lazy about a generation of kids that were promised the world after 4 years of debt,? A whole generation that was promised they’d be able to earn their keep with jobs that they were passionate about, only be yelled at by every other generation while working some service or fast food job. What’s exactly lazy about a whole generation that has to work 2 or 3 jobs to keep up on top of bills? We are generation that hasn’t received a minimum wage increase in a decade but have dealt with the rising cost of everything to make more billions for someone who doesn’t give a shit about us.
But that’s the allure of the Billionaire. These people have so much money, that they don’t have to worry about bills. A billion currencies means they can afford all the healthcare, food, shelter, and rare collectibles they want without any concern. There’s no struggles or suffering for the billionaires. Its basically Shangri-La. They have everything and they don’t have do a goddam thing to keep it that way. I’d say that’s far lazier than my generation of constant workers.
Billionaires are the closest things to real Gods we have in our society. Gods that are not determined by omnipotence, but rather their unlimited wealth. Which just goes to show, that the standards for Godliness has been lowered. You used to have to be able to do alchemy, split seas, transform into a mythic creature or even just be clean. Now you just need to a bank account on an island nobody’s heard of made from the blood sweat and tears of commoners. Being that this wealth can be used to alleviate suffering, why haven’t we seen less of that in the world? Part of our society’s infatuation and celebration of Billionaires is they can save us. If we the serfs bolster their egos they’ll come down from their high mountain tops and instead of raining fire they’ll make it rain like a gangster in a strip club.
So why haven’t the billionaires pooled all their resources and paid for all our healthcare and fed everyone on the planet? Because the basis of acquiring all that monetary wealth isn’t for us or an altruistic motive, it’s for the individual billionaire. Greed driven self centeredness cannot and will not alleviate suffering, but it will try to convince you that it is your fault for choosing suffering. It’s basically if Buddha was a sociopath with diamond prayer beads. Being a billionaire is basically like winning the game of Monopoly! Sure you conned and cheated all your friends and have properties and hotels on every space and you even own the jail somehow, but now your sitting at the board counting all money, alone…with possibly the weirdest the erection of your life.
So the question remains, should we want to be billionaires? If you want take care of yourself and only yourself, then yes. But that fundamentally goes against our nature as social creatures based on developing community and innovating together. Being a billionaire literally goes against the nature of being a human being. It’s so much monetary wealth that it changes your genus & species. You’re no longer a Homo Sapein, but a Homo-Douchebagus.
A Billion is an astronomically large number. As Paul Franz, an education technologist, reminded us: A million seconds is 11 days. A billion seconds is over 31 years! It is ONE MILLION MILLIONS! It’s exponentially larger than a million! Remember Capitalism is trading goods and services for monetary wealth. And acquiring that much monetary wealth does come with a cost. The cost of being billionaire is the letting go of your moral compass and your own humanity. So who wants to be a billionaire now?