From the Left



Let's Get Real: Billionaires Are Nuts!

Jim Hightower on

When megalomanic, multibillionaire barons of industry suddenly announce that they are boundless geniuses who must remake society, government and nature, perk up and pay attention! Their grand schemes of social engineering almost always go badly for us nonbillionaires.

Having spent their careers in the top-down, self-aggrandizing, exploitative corporate culture, they invariably turn to techno-solutions and AI computer models, ignoring such bothersome factors as human dynamics.

So look out, for here comes a gaggle of high-tech gabillionaires from Silicon Valley, planning to "fix" America's cities by building an urban utopia from scratch. They've chosen Solano County, northeast of San Francisco, for their start-up city, promoting it as a hybrid of technotopia and European urbanity, free from the gritty realities of -- you know -- real cities.

Their plan, however, did not include informing the people currently living there about their scheme. Instead, they dispatched secret armies of lawyers and developers to snap up the area's rich farmland, preparing to surprise the locals by converting their land, community and culture into the gabillionaires' experiment in new urbanism. One of the moneyed schemers declared that: "The idea is simple: Found new cities, free from old bureaucratic and legal structures, and explore bold new visions of how government should work."

But that's not simple... it's simplistic. Also, wholly anti-democratic and un-American. But it's in keeping with the egomaniacal ejaculations of such other self-indulgent richies as Peter Thiel, who wants cities to float on oceans; Jeff Bezos, who proposes that cities orbit in space; and Elon Musk who wants cities built on Mars.

They should all be sent to those places now! Meanwhile, what if more of our billionaires invested their money and political influence in funding real solutions to real problems in the real cities America already has?



Oklahoma troubadour Woodie Guthrie wrote a song about outlaws that was right on target:

"As through this world I've traveled

I've seen lots of funny men


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John Branch Steve Benson Clay Bennett Bob Englehart Drew Sheneman Joey Weatherford