Stuart Schneiderman raises a fascinating and incredibly relevant question on his blog, the answer to which is found in Christian theology. Why are the people who have the most money in society increasingly hostile to the concept of economic growth?
The War Against Economic Growth
13 January 2020
Here in the Western world, an unholy alliance of leftist billionaires and environmental zealots is doing everything in its power to ensure that the West loses out to Asia in the current clash of civilizations.
They have declared war on economic growth and aspire to lead their nations and the West to a period of lower economic growth. In order to save the environment they want us all to return to more feudal living conditions.
All of us except for them, that is.
Well, no, they will also participate in the coming feudalism. Probably with the titles of “Baron” and “Lord”.
Here’s a useful rule of thumb for macroeconomics: The upper class wants expensive land and cheap labor. The middle class wants expensive labor and cheap land. Nobody cares what the lower class wants.
Feudalism is the poster child for “expensive land and cheap labor”.
Those conditions require less energy and produce less environmental pollution. The great minds who concocted this road to misery neglect to point out that less economic growth, less wealth means less medical research. While proposing that everyone go back to living in mud huts, they ought, in their so-called minds, recall the plagues that characterized those periods.
Don’t listen to what they say. Look at what they do. Blah blah future for our children, and we need you disarmed for Phase Two. Both this and my feudalism comment are leading up to my answer.
Among the great human curiosities of our time is the presence of obscenely wealthy men like Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, accompanied by their comrades in disarmament from Silicon Valley and other leftist redoubts, leading the march toward a no-growth economy.
They may not know it, but they are making a very good argument for wealth confiscation. If they cannot use their wealth responsibly to advance wealth creation for everyone else, why should they have it? Someone should do a study about the effects of having too much money. If you have billions of dollars in the bank you cannot, effectively spend money. No rational expense will cause your purchasing power to decline. And thus, you cannot really grow your own wealth. Does this cause them to imagine that no one should ever grow their own wealth?
As Schneiderman noticed, the super-rich are no longer being motivated by money. That explains why they are okay with a no-growth economy but the question of their current motivation remains unanswered.
Furthermore, these tech billionaires, having become masters of the marketplace of information seem to believe that they must now conquer the marketplace of ideas. They seem to imagine that their outsized wealth means that they are great thinkers. Some of them even mistake themselves for philosophers. They do not seem to understand that their anti-growth schemes will immiserate billions of people, while leaving them alone in their gated communities, with armed security, to enjoy their own infinite wealth.
Look. At. What. They. Do. They are fully, completely, one hundred percent, before-the-fact aware that their decisions will inflict needless suffering upon billions of innocents. THAT’S WHY THEY ARE DOING IT.
Living where I do, I’ve known some of those tech kerjillionaires. Their situation is that beyond a certain point, making money becomes an end in itself. You have to manage investments, track cash flows, consult with advisers and so on. Just being rich is a full-time job.
Many men, often the wiser ones, stop here. They retire, enjoy life, work for free, do charity, whatever. They rarely graduate from millionaire to billionaire because they aren’t greedy enough to seek wealth as an end in itself. Money is only a means to whatever they want from life.
Those who don’t stop become greedy. Wealth becomes the goal, not the tool. The push is always for more.
A greedy man wants a lot. A proud man wants more than you. A greedy man wants to live in a mansion. A proud man will live in a shack if, in return, he can force you to live in a ditch. As C.S. Lewis pointed out, pride is the competitive vice.
What happens when a greedy man becomes so wealthy that he becomes incapable of greed? When there’s no bigger mansion to buy? Does the devil stop tempting him?
No. He graduates from greed to pride.
When there’s no more “more” to be had, the greedy proceed to the next level of Evil: making YOU have LESS. Pride (competition) sets in. Especially if Mr. Jillions notices that ordinary Joes frequently enjoy life more than him because they have fewer responsibilities, more free time and aren’t constantly ass-kissed by parasites with sob stories. It’s a frustration that can easily metastasize.
This is what happens when you have too much money: You stop wanting more for yourself and start wanting less for everybody else. It’s the only way to continue widening the gulf between you and them.
This passage is obscure but a favorite of mine. Ezekiel 34:17-23 “As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?
“‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. I will place over them one shepherd, [Christ], and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd.”
Anyway, the Western left has been taking a stand against economic growth. It seems to be suggesting that it cannot win out against the rising nations in the East. And thus that it must devote itself to higher ideals by saving the environment.
Environmental activism is not an effort to compete against foreign powers. Least of all China, which my eco-conscious California is whoring itself to like a prostitute attempting a baby trap.
Environmental activism is Marx’s current opiate of the masses. The greedy use it to devalue energy assets for cheap acquisition while selling overpriced crap like wind turbines. The proud use it to enslave the peasants in their own, all-organic filth. And the upper class use it to destroy their natural competitor, the middle class. They all work together to convince the spiritually empty that for the good of “humanity’s future”, suffering and austerity must be voluntarily imposed upon (the rest of) society.
(Nota bene, one of those tech kerjillionaires I met was a righteous man who helped me out when I needed it. I’m not a One Percenter hater because no poor man ever gave me a job.)
Joel Kotkin outlines this ominous turn toward self-deconstruction in a long and wise article. Everyone would do well to read it in its entirety.
Link below but I won’t get into it. TL;DR Kotkin compares the green agenda to “It’s the economy, stupid” Baby Boomerism while wondering why people are valuing an intentionally weakened economy. Every answer to his enquiries reduce to the simple fact that a strong economy is an insufficient replacement for religion. Man does not live by bread alone and will start doing foolish things like worshiping Nature or playing God in desperate and uninformed efforts to fill the soul’s need for meaning.
Thus, the new green left does not just want us to ration access to hamburgers, but it wants government to limit our ability to have children.
The works of the devil are to steal, kill and destroy. By their actions, you can recognize his followers.