Why we shouldn’t “eat the rich”

A man reading Forbes magazine, "Billionare" is on the cover with a man in a suit.

PHOTO BY David SuarezUnsplash 

“Eat the rich” – this line has encompassed the current attitude of the world towards wealthy individuals in the past few years. In the west, a reckoning seems to be erupting as economic disparities have started to trend, the issues of the line between the rich and poor litter our lives.

From award winning motion pictures, to fashion statements at exclusive events; social media is erupting, and a battle is being fought as the inequalities of modern-day capitalism have driven many people to a breaking point. 

Everyone and their grandma seem to hate the rich – so much so that when companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin launched civilians back into space reigniting the wonders of 60s space races – all that everyone seemed to wish for was that the billionaires go into space and stay there. 

Individuals like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg have now become public enemy number one. They are the villains of our time and with words like “inequality”, “exploitation” and “injustice” being thrown around, one starts to wonder how we got here.

Not so long ago, these names were spoken with reverence , people like Zuckerberg revolutionised the world by introducing social media, and they have effectively changed the very course of human history itself. 

Jeff Bezos created a new kind of company whose necessity was proven during the pandemic as Amazon catered to all our needs, feeding us, clothing us and now even entertaining us. With all our desires on a single site, humanity will never be the same. 

People like Bill Gates gave us our very reality and if it hadn’t been for them, the world would look very different. Elon Musk now represents the future of humanity with his electric cars and countless more projects that seem to cater to a new green climate conscious dream. 

These men have changed human history and yet, they are enemy number one.

I want to take the contrarian’s view and show how maybe the rich don’t deserve the hate – not entirely, at least. Our world isn’t perfect, it has a lot of problems and issues that need solving, but it can’t be all the fault of wealthy people. 

If anything, the rich could be seen as victims just like the poor. Both groups operate in the same system and have the same goal: trying to win. Both classes try to ensure that they can survive and thrive within the situation that they find themselves in.

The impact that the rich have might even be to our benefit as they have the capital to create jobs and essentially run the economy. While many feel themselves to be cogs in a machine, they wouldn’t even have that opportunity if it wasn’t for the rich having enough capital to build said machine. 

Many charity organisations survive because of wealthy donors, and most charities are started by wealthy individuals. In terms of impact, billionaire charities have the most effect because they have enough capital to do so. 

The economy is constantly being innovated by the rich, new markets, inventions and technologies are brought forth by wealthy individuals, electric cars, social media, the very internet itself – these were industries that were commercialized by the rich and though some have negative impacts, you can’t deny the good that has been brought about, space travel and virtual reality are new landscapes that are brimming with potential.

Science fiction that we read is slowly becoming reality and whether we like it or not, all that techno magic will be pioneered by the rich, even the very dream of solarpunk, the answer to our climate crisis. Big governments can talk and talk, but it’ll be Tesla that can claim to have taken over the oil run model T and have brought forth a cleaner greener future. 

Eat the rich? I think not.

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