Tuesday, April 18, 2023

The Average Billionaire


The Average Billionaire

by C. A. Matthews

How “average” would I feel if I became a billionaire? Since I’m nowhere close to becoming even a lowly millionaire, it’s a moot point really. Looking deeper into what it means to be a part of the highest echelon, some very uncomfortable truths are revealed.

There are only 2,640 billionaires on this entire planet of approximately 8 billion people according to Forbes’ yearly survey called The World’s Billionaires. Most American small towns average about 3,000 people. And yet… “These few billionaires together have ‘investment emissions’ that equal the carbon footprints of entire countries like France, Egypt or Argentina,” said Nafkote Dabi, Climate Change Lead at Oxfam in their report, Carbon Billionaires: The investment emissions of the world’s richest people. The world's wealthiest individuals' investments account for up to 70 percent of their emissions, so presumable the other 30 percent is due to their lavish lifestyles.

According to Fortune magazine, the investments of a mere 125 of the world’s richest individuals have a carbon footprint equivalent to the entire emissions of France.

Excuse me? A tiny handful of human beings and their investments have carbon footprints the size of entire countries? Check out the population of the countries listed and prepare to be shocked.

Egypt has a population of 103,376,607.

France has a population of 68,042,591.

Argentina has a population of 46,044,703.

This is insane. A village worth of billionaires cause carbon emissions as much as 103,376,607 Egyptians or 68,042,591 French persons or 46,044,703 Argentinians, and we’re all okay with this?

I’m not.

But let’s not blame simply the small cadre of billionaires for why the climate catastrophe is worsening.The World Inequality Lab, led by the Paris School of Economics and University at California at Berkeley, found that the top 10 percent of polluters—about 770 million persons—are the climate equivalent of the world’s wealthiest 10 percent and are responsible for roughly 50 percent of all carbon emissions. The bottom 50 percent of the planet’s population make only 12 percent of the total emissions.

Furthermore, the richest 1 percentthe 60 million+ individuals who make more than $109,000 a year—are responsible for the fastest-growing source of carbon emissions. 

Okay, so it’s more than a small town’s worth of polluting individuals at fault for half the world’s carbon emissions. It’s the top 1 percent of the world’s population or approximately 60 million+ people who are the fastest-growing source of carbon emissions. If we could get the top 1 percent to cut back their carbon footprint even by half, the climate catastrophe would lessen appreciably and, perhaps, give us more time to revitalize plant and animal species hanging by thread over the chasm of extinction.

That sounds good and doable to me. Don’t you agree? We get slightly less than the population of France to cooperate and cut back their polluting ways to match or do better on carbon emissions than the bottom 50 percent and things will be looking up for all of us.

I know what’s causing some of you to hesitate. I hear folks saying, “Hey, I make over $109,000 a year! How can I be lumped together with the richest 1 percent on the planet? Why am I included in the evil billionaire class?”
Why indeed.
Go ahead and pat yourself on the back. Most human beings on our planet survive and have survived on far less income. Of course, they also survive/survived by utilizing fewer fossil fuel-using contraptions and vehicles in their lifetimes, too. Don't forget these are sizeable source of pollution.  
Don’t know what I mean? If you make $109K+ yearly, I bet you own a car. You may even own two or more petroleum burning cars, trucks or SUVs, the most polluting of personal vehicles. You might own a motorcycle, off-road buggy, lawnmower, motorboat, Skidoo or snowmobile, too. You probably own/are buying a house or a condo and possibly another home or vacation cabin or even an RV. You fly frequently for work or leisure and occasionally travel on cruise ships, right? Eat out more than once a month? Eat meat on a regular basis? Buy water in little bottles and then toss them away when they're empty?
Your actions demonstrate why you’re a part of the 1 percent. The rest of us aren’t quite as fortunate. We don't possess the means to participate in as many polluting activities.
And still… You’re not an average billionaire. You don't own nineteen vehicles or nine mansions yet. You’ll probably never become a billionaire, unless you inherit a large sum of money or marry into it. Don’t be sad—at least you’ve got a good chance of becoming a millionaire before you retire. Your lifestyle reflects your good luck, and it means you’re creating a lot of carbon emissions that add to the greenhouse effect and drive the climate change we're all experiencing.

Billionaires definitely own more homes than most of us, but more telling, they own a lot more cars and other vehicles, including diesel burning yachts and the yacht's newest iteration, the superyacht.

Remember that headline a year or so back about Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos' newly built yacht being too large to pass under a bridge in the Netherlands? They had to dismantle the historic structure just to squeeze the yacht through and get it out to sea. That's a superyacht. An average superyacht produces 1,500 more carbon emissions than a typical family car. By comparison, in the US the bottom 50 percent of Americans emit fewer than 10 tons of carbon dioxide, the middle 40 percent emit around 22 tons, and the richest 10 percent emit over 70 tons of carbon dioxide.
“Emissions from billionaire lifestyles, their private jets and yachts are thousands of times the average person, which is already completely unacceptable. But if we look at emissions from their investments, then their carbon emissions are over a million times higher,” said Oxfam’s Dabi.

According to Fortune:

The role of the super-rich in super-charging climate change is rarely discussed...These billionaire investors at the top of the corporate pyramid have huge responsibility for driving climate breakdown. They have escaped accountability for too long.

It’s true. We as a society have covered for the climate destroying billionaires long enough. Not only are they murdering our planet, they’re killing us as a people. Billionaire capitalists create dissension and divisions among the working class in order to make their obscene profits. We workers are kept busy blaming our equally struggling neighbors for a variety of imagined grievances instead of observing how it's the billionaires exercising their carte blanche to abuse the Earth however they please who are our true enemies. 
Let’s face it—billionaires own everything, including our politicians. The US Supreme Court gave them that right in their Citizens United ruling. Whatever billionaires say goes.

For example, Texas billionaire Harlan Crow had his companies purchase several properties in Savannah, Georgia, in 2014. What makes this real estate purchase interesting is that Crow bought these properties as a gift for his buddy US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his relatives.

It’s nice to have a billionaire for a friend when you’re seated in such a "lowly" position, a justice on the US Supreme Court, isn’t it? 

Of course, when you’re a billionaire (or even a hundred-millionaire) and fall into a patch of trouble, such as your bank becomes insolvent, you always have the US government to fall back on to bail you out. Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of bailing out. Right, Silicon Valley Bank

When’s the last time the American working classes were bailed out of such massive debt? We can’t even get our unfair student loan debts or medical debts forgiven outright, can we? Heck, we can't even get universal health care to cover all Americans regardless of income!

Before I must return to my day job, I want to leave you some thoughts to ponder. What would the planet be like if we didn’t have these 2,640 super-wealthy persons and their extreme carbon emitting, climate destroying, planet and people killing lifestyles? What if the resources of the top 1 percent were distributed to the bottom 99 percent of the population who make less than $109,000 yearly and pollute far, far less? What if the richest persons’ hoarded wealth were put to use to help fight the climate catastrophe, so we could leave our children a cleaner, greener planet and a brighter future?
Speaking of green things and bright energy, why not tax these billionaires (and actually make them pay their taxes for a change) so we can retire the dirty coal plants and leaky nuclear plants and erect more solar panels and wind turbines? Or would that upset too many of 1 percent who own shares in coal mining corporations? Should we really care if their feelings get hurt when our planet’s fate and our future as a species is in their hands?
After all, if the majority of human beings survive on less (much, much less) than $109,000 a year, why can’t the billionaires? Once the fossilized dinosaur remains are all burned up and the power goes out and the skies grow brown with blowing dust due to drought, we’ll all be living in the dark together, now won’t we? It's about time we learn how to cooperate and live alongside our neighbors.


Related Links:

A billionaire emits a million times more greenhouse gases than the average person  https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/billionaire-emits-million-times-more-greenhouse-gases-average-person

Carbon Billionaires: The investment emissions of the world’s richest people https://policy-practice.oxfam.org/resources/carbon-billionaires-the-investment-emissions-of-the-worlds-richest-people-621446/

The Huge Carbon Footprint of Billionaires https://impakter.com/billionaries-rich-carbon-emissions-ineqauility/

125 billionaires produce the same carbon footprint as the entire country of France  https://fortune.com/2022/11/08/billionaires-carbon-emissions-oxfam-report-france/

The World's Billionaires

Billionaire Harlan Crow Bought Property From Clarence Thomas. The Justice Didn’t Disclose the Deal https://www.propublica.org/article/clarence-thomas-harlan-crow-real-estate-scotus

The Silicon Valley Bank Bailout: The Purpose of Government is to Make the Rich Richer https://scheerpost.com/2023/04/02/the-silicon-valley-bank-bailout-the-purpose-of-government-is-to-make-the-rich-richer/

Does Endless Spending in Ukraine Cause Deprivations at Home?/System Update #68 https://rumble.com/v2hmj0s-system-u pdate-68.html

IMF Is Forcing Some Of Hardest-Hit Countries To Pay Unnecessary Fees  https://popularresistance.org/imf-is-forcing-some-of-hardest-hit-countries-to-pay-unnecessary-fees-on-loans/

US bank bailout benefited billionaires, exposing corruption: 'I understand why Americans are angry' https://geopoliticaleconomy.substack.com/p/bank-bailout-billionaires-corruption

Michigan health care crisis: Billionaires cash in at the expense of nurses’ conditions

Richard Wolff Explains How Billionaires Exploit the 99%
Countries worldwide are dropping the US dollar: De-dollarization in China, Russia, Brazil, ASEA https://geopoliticaleconomy.substack.com/p/de-dollarization-china-russia-brazil-asean/comments

Oxfam Slams Rich Nations for Artificially Inflating Their Global Climate Funding

Anti-Protest Laws Are Not About Safety, They Are About Silencing Dissent  https://scheerpost.com/2023/04/11/anti-protest-laws-are-not-about-safety-they-are-about-silencing-dissent-2/

13 Groups Sue the EPA for Failing to Update Regulations on Water Pollution  https://truthout.org/articles/13-groups-sue-the-epa-for-failing-to-update-regulations-on-water-pollution/ 

Student Debt Forgiveness is a Win-Win for Our Country


Zelensky & Friends Embezzled $400 MIL | Lula goes to China https://www.youtube.com/live/yp0pt1zymBI

The Indiana fire disaster: Another case of US industry polluting and killing with virtual impunity https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/04/13/faie-a13.html 


  1. Ordinary people tend to blame each other and/or 'the poor' for their troubles. Wrong. The real cause of oppression in this world is down to -

    The rich
    The corporations they own
    The politicians they buy.

    1. Amen! We've got to recognize that we the workers have more in common with each other than we do with billionaire hoarders that hoard and covet all the world's natural resources. To save our planet, we need to take it away from its worst abusers, the corporations and the politicians who go along with their crimes. Power to the people!


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