It is also interesting how the privileged classes have selected things to worry about. As Evan Osnos reported in his New Yorker article:
“Élite anxiety cuts across political lines. Even financiers who supported Trump for President, hoping that he would cut taxes and regulations, have been unnerved at the ways his insurgent campaign seems to have hastened a collapse of respect for established institutions. Dugger said, “The media is under attack now. They wonder, Is the court system next? Do we go from ‘fake news’ to ‘fake evidence’? For people whose existence depends on enforceable contracts, this is life or death.”
It is also interesting how the privileged classes have selected things to worry about. As Osnos reported
“Robert A. Johnson was another person that Osnos interviewed. He saw the fear of his peers as “the symptom of a deeper crisis.” I agree with that. I too see the fear as a manifestation of fundamental unease about their place in modern society. They are unmoored and their wealth, which often is extreme wealth, is not able to fill the void. Johnson was the manager of a hedge fund. He was also the head of a think tank. He called himself “an accidental student of civic anxiety.”From my own career, I would just talk to people. More and more were saying, ‘you’ve got to have a private plane. You have to assure that the pilot’s family will be taken care of, too. They have to be on the plane.’ ”
Johnson saw the fear of his peers as “the symptom of a deeper crisis.” I agree with that. I too see the fear experienced by the über wealthy as a manifestation of fundamental unease about their place in modern society like those who bought condos in a concrete missile silo in Kansa. They are unmoored and their wealth, which these days often is extreme wealth, is not able to fill the void. Johnson was the manager of a hedge fund. He was also the head of a think tank. He called himself “an accidental student of civic anxiety. More and more wealthy people were telling. him, ‘you’ve got to have a private plane. You have to assure that the pilot’s family will be taken care of, too. They have to be on the plane.’ ” Escaping the apocalypse is not easy.
Osnos analyzed this situation this way,
“By January, 2015, Johnson was sounding the alarm: the tensions produced by acute income inequality were becoming so pronounced that some of the world’s wealthiest people were taking steps to protect themselves. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Johnson told the audience, “I know hedge-fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway.”
Johnson is like some other wealthy people that have not entirely lost their sense of empathy or their sense of justice. Osnos described their situation this way,
“Johnson wishes that the wealthy would adopt a greater “spirit of stewardship,” an openness to policy change that could include, for instance, a more aggressive tax on inheritance. “Twenty-five hedge-fund managers make more money than all of the kindergarten teachers in America combined,” he said. “Being one of those twenty-five doesn’t feel good. I think they’ve developed a heightened sensitivity.” The gap is widening further. In December, the National Bureau of Economic Research published a new analysis, by the economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, which found that half of American adults have been “completely shut off from economic growth since the 1970s.” Approximately a hundred and seventeen million people earn, on average, the same income that they did in 1980, while the typical income for the top one per cent has nearly tripled. That gap is comparable to the gap between average incomes in the U.S. and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the authors wrote.”
If you are the fortunate beneficiary of such largesse, it is difficult to believe that that such extreme inequality is justified. It takes a special kind hubris. Or perhaps blindness. The result is fear that some day that injustice might be rectified.