Passion for Socialism

A society based on sharing and caring.

Passion for Socialism

A society based on sharing and caring.

I Wannabe a Plutocrat! (2013)

 

by Stephen Shenfield, Special Contributor

 

Dear Material World, 

My life’s dream is to become a fully paid-up member of the capitalist class. Do you have any advice? How much money do I need to join? I am willing to work hard, but I need some guidance.

Greed is good!

Wannabe Plutocrat

 

Dear Wannabee Plutocrat,

Your greed and ambition are commendable, but your ‘willingness to work hard’ suggests a certain naivety. What sort of attitude is that for a would-be capitalist? The so-called ‘work ethic’ is strictly for the proles. The key to becoming a capitalist – seeing that you lacked the good sense to be born to rich parents – is to get other people working hard for you!

I am sure you will understand why I cannot possibly give away specific advice on how to make money. But you happen to be in luck, because I still have a few copies left of my invaluable Swindler’s Handbook: Never Give a Sucker an Even Break ($99 plus sales tax, postage free). And you have my assurance that every technique described in the handbook is completely legal.

There is no annual charge for membership in the capitalist class. But you do need to have enough money for you and your family to live in comfort – or, better yet, luxury – without ever finding yourself in the humiliating situation of having to sell your ability to work.

For detailed information on the various strata of the capitalist class in the United States, I recommend the ‘Who Rules America?’ website maintained by Professor G. William Domhoff of the University of California at Santa Cruz (For detailed information on the various strata of the capitalist class in the United States, I recommend the ‘Who Rules America?’ website maintained by Professor G. William Domhoff of the University of California at Santa Cruz and especially the paper contributed anonymously by an investment manager who serves wealthy clients. and especially the paper contributed anonymously by an investment manager who serves wealthy clients.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has popularised the idea of ‘the top 1 percent’. The anonymous investment manager advises that you enter the top 1 percent when your financial assets exceed $1.2 million. He warns, however, that the bottom half of the top 1 percent is full of such small fry as lawyers, physicians, upper middle managers and small business owners.

The adult population of the US is currently about 236 million (75 percent of a total population of 315 million). So there are well over two million adults in that top 1 percent – hardly a very exclusive club! If you want to be a plutocrat, you must set your sights higher than that.

Fortunately, for just $2 million you can join the top half of the top 1 percent. For $3 million you can join the top quarter of the top 1 percent. For $5.5 million you can join the top 0.1 percent, and for $24.4 million the top 0.01 percent. At this rarefied level you will belong to a club of only 20,000 or so truly wealthy individuals. And besides being free of all financial worries you will enjoy ready access to the corridors of power, with politicians at your beck and call. You will have achieved your life’s dream, for you will be not just an ordinary capitalist but a member of the ruling circles, a real plutocrat!

Sincerely,

Material World


Stephen Shenfield is general secretary of the World Socialist Party of the United States, a companion party of the World Socialist Movement.

Born in London in 1950, he joined the Socialist Party of Great Britain, another companion party of the WSM, at the age of 16. In his twenties he worked as a government statistician and was one of those who left the SPGB to form the group Social Revolution. In 1979 he went into Soviet Studies at the University of Birmingham. In the early 1980s he was active in the nuclear disarmament movement. In 1989 he came to the United States to join the faculty of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he still lives. In the 1990s he did research and lectured in post-Soviet politics and international relations. Since 2000 he has worked mainly as a translator from Russian. About 2008 he joined the WSPUS, thereby rejoining the WSM.

Stephen Shenfield is the author of The Nuclear Dilemma (Routledge, 1987), Russian Fascism (M.E. Sharpe, 2001), the e-book Stories of a Soviet Studier, and numerous shorter works, many of which are on his personal website stephenshenfield.net. He also maintains the website ‘What is socialism?’ (whatissocialism.net).

 

 

P4S