Societal Changes

I was just reading an opinion piece in the LA Times on why “tax the rich” is the wrong idea. It got me thinking, and tied into some thoughts I’m having from a book on the early days of the Pacific Electric I’m reading, and some thoughts on unions.

Society has changed, and not for the better.

If you look at some of the robber barons of the 18th century, they were in business to make money. And they did. But they also had the sense of giving back: they built libraries, they created foundations, they give to charities. Today, what do we see? The folks that get the large bonuses — the bankers and oil company executives and such — where are they giving back? The notion of earning money to do good is gone. Instead, we expect the government to do the good, but then don’t want to pay for it.  We see executives, in fact, doing what they can to avoid giving money to the government to do good.

When they do give money, what do they do? They often build buildings or other infrastructure, forgetting the ongoing costs of that infrastracture… leaving government on the hook to keep the lights on.

We’ve seen this in unions as well. Whereas they once worked to protect workers — to ensure good and safe working conditions (an admirable thing), to ensure that reasonable benefits were provided… they’ve gone into the mindset of greed and preservation of that status. They collect more money; they fund political campaigns — things that may not help the worker as much.

We need to get away from the “greed is good” notion. We need to get away from the collection of significant excesses of money. We need to get back to the mindset of doing good for all.

Music: Sing For Joy (Rabbi Gershom Sizomu And Others): Havu Ladonay