Billionaires are Hard Working Geniuses.
This is the problem, isn’t it. Too many people believing this. Interviews with people in those crucial rust belt counties confirms the prevalence of the delusion. The notion that immense wealth is clear evidence of moral worth and intellectual acumen is deeply embedded.
And when a vicious, mentally unstable imbecile is given the nuclear codes next week, it will be in part because of the belief that his billions evidence personal qualities that America needs. Trump has boasted as much, although he despises the American people far too much to actually share the tax returns that would enable them to make their own assessment of his net worth.
But there’s a larger problem. This is the problem of people refusing to understand how capital and surplus value actually function. If someone can turn ten dollars into a million dollars, something very extraordinary has happened. Turning one million into two million is far less extraordinary however, as you are by this point employing others to work for you. And turning 500 million into a billion is entirely normal, given a long enough time line. If you had tens of millions to invest in conservative index linked funds in the 1970s (like the Trump family) then you will be a billionaire today without ever having to get out of bed. Exit the right birth canal and you need never make another meaningful economic decision for the remainder of your life.
Just look what a ten per cent annual return on an investment portfolio will do for you over the course of decades. The maths is not difficult.
This is old money behaviour strategically dressed in a deliberately vulgar new money suit and capped with a deceptively bad haircut. Trump is wealthy because he was born into wealth that had been used to protect him from his own recurrent bad decisions. He’s nearly seventy, but he’s never been an adult and never had to take responsibility for his own actions.
Yet faith in the inherent worth of billionaires persists and wins votes in crucial constituencies.
A corollary of this belief in capitalist meritocracy is of course Kicana kdownism, the religion that has almost completely supplanted and exterminated Christianity in countries like he UK and the USA. This religion teaches that whenever you feel economically threatened you should always look down rather than up, always blames the powerless rather than the powerful. The result of this creed, wherever it flourishes, is the strengthening of hereditary oligarchy, decreased social mobility, and an economy in which hard work and imagination count for nothing compared to the leverage conferred by inherited wealth. Trump’s world.