More Wealth for the Wealthy: An Economic Commentary

In an episode of Explained, a series by Netflix and Vox media that “puts spotlight on topical issues that impact people’s lives” billionaire investor Mark Cuban and Senator Bernie Sanders, along with several eye-opening visualizations of facts and data from leading media firms like Forbes and Vox, attempt to explain just why the number of Millionaires and Billionaires are rapidly increasing in the 21st century. By the end of the episode, the rise of tech firms all over the world, as well as the increasing need for resources, partnered with the ease of using machines in place of labor transformed into the prime arguments in deconstructing the rising number of supremely wealthy people.

The simple logic lies in the fact that the tech industry requires less man-power but produces more expensive products in the form of websites and data, of all sorts. As a result, a select group high power tech company owners earn and share huge sums of money, an even smaller elite group of them are regarded as Mega-Billionaires. Most of these tech innovations boomed into the giants just within the last twenty years, as a result of a phenomenon that blossomed around the 1800s called The Gilded Age, which was an era of heavy corruption and unfettered capitalism, which raises suspicions.

Times have changed and the means to attain money have grown, especially in first world countries like the United States. But problems like income inequality still bother working-class people to arguably the same extent. Another conclusion to be drawn from their analysis was that the increasing need for resources has also contributed to the wealth of a select few. Because of our exploding population, the need to employ more people has grown but new machines and artificial intelligence have come to a point where it’s easy for entrepreneurs to save more money just by cutting down the labor involved, keeping only the men who have the skills they absolutely need. With the promotion of higher education, many working-class people have turned into educated and skilled labor, as a result of which, having a standard degree except from any of the top schools has lost its value.

Since companies have so many people available for hiring they choose someone who has skills that the company needs at that point of time while the fear of ending up unemployed forces the employees to accept any wage offered, further lowering the cost of running the company. The emphasis on having special skills to be a billionaire has made it even harder for people who cannot afford to go to top schools that have a reputation of churning out several billionaires every year. This has instilled several barriers ahead of students who are weak financially to rise to the top but has only promoted students who already have the resources to spring to the top as not everybody can bear the costs of most top American institutions of higher education without putting themselves into a void of debt that they may never emerge out of.

With income inequality at a rise and the rich being taxed next to nothing of what they owe the state, (2018 was the first year in the history of the United States that Billionaires paid a lower tax rate than the working class as per Washington Post) these are all arguments any entrepreneur must consider before they blame themselves for not having a billion-dollar turnover. Since the U.S. government taxation system is biased towards the top few, making money if you already have money to start with, has affected the lives of too many to count. Thus, in recent years, such disappointments experienced by the working class have proven to them that money, in fact, breeds more of itself as relative rise in billionaires with strong backgrounds has been relatively more while the rest still struggle to make ends meet.