Stop Defending Billionaires: They Give You Nothing

celine qin 🌷
5 min readAug 25, 2021

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Billionaires carry a colossal range of influence in our society, from controlling the media we consume to outlining the political landscapes of nearly every issue encountered within this generation, and potentially the fate of the next. In fact, it seems whatever tiny population with the staggering net wealth have always had the grand say in culture, human rights, policy, and just about any instrumental decision throughout the entire course of history. Obviously, these big name figures have the iron fist on the economical and socio-political playground, as well as on the backs of millions of their subordinates.

This degree of power is one that can hone catastrophe. And for some people, the influence of these billionaire personas is one that provokes inspiration, despite the cruelty it took to grip hold of such a role. If we can get one thing clear, however, it is the fact that these billionaires are not on our side, as they never have been and never will be as long as capitalist society exists. But why would an average human hold deep admiration for those who exploit them? The answer lies deep within the insidiousness of the modern neoliberal framework. So without further ado, let us break this all down one step at a time.

Under capitalism, we live in a class hierarchy that divides us and prompts many people of the working class on a competitive race to reach the top of the economical pyramid, even if it means stepping on the backs of other people or weaponizing unethical methods to get there.

As capitalist society drives the masses into a bloody race against those on the same endeavor, it is no surprise that the idols who have already made it are who we are trying to become. Many people in this endless contest dream to get a taste of what it is like to be in the shoes of the one percent, becoming “inspired” and believing that these “self-made” icons are tangible to anyone who puts up a front to try. This is called the Bootstraps Theory, which is the assumption that anyone who works hard will be able to prosper. This concept is noticeably flawed, as it ignores the abundance of systemic issues for oppressed peoples and the continuous beeline that sends the majority of the working class into poverty, even if their hard work (or let’s face it, strenuous, mentally-physically deteriorating struggle to barely survive) was part of the equation.

What the apologists and idolizers of these monopolistic elites fail to take in is the intrinsic routine that whenever an individual elevates themselves to a position of recognizable dominance over others, they are exploiting a large group of people who are paying for their very success. In many cases, those who idolize the miniscule population of billionaires are the same people being exploited by those wealthy and ruthless few. This trap of Stockholm Syndrome is what many “capitalists” (or simply working class individuals defending capitalism) fall into.

Capitalism had fabricated a storyline that promised the working class prosperity, when in actuality, it was merely a scam that allowed for further exploitation while the wealth continues to be isolated at the top of the hierarchy.

The creation of an elite, highly superior class means maintaining a population who works for nothing, who are barely making ends meet. It means impoverishing millions of innocent individuals, who face challenges far more frequently than any rich person that “perseveres and never gives up.” A billionaire’s hard work is nothing compared to value stolen from their workers. If hard work was truly the reason behind it all, then why do people working harder than almost all of these multi-billion figures are still struggling to afford rent?

People argue that these billionaires are great people and deserve to be defended from criticism because they

  1. provide us goods, or products they sell
  2. give philanthropic services to impoverished countries
  3. provide jobs. Now, there is no denial that these statements are technically true, but the truth is beyond what we see on the surface.

For starters, we must look at the labor it takes to create the commodities these billionaires sell. No doubt that there is someone being overworked and undercompensated, being paid far less than the full value of their labor, creating these goods. As long as someone is earning a profit, someone else is being stolen from.

While this system does indeed provide people with a waged job, what system would be considered great if people are forced to either sell their labor or exploit the labor of others in order to live? Rather than being grateful for Jeff Bezos giving Amazon workers a job, shouldn’t we be angry that he is taking advantage of these people while the workers are coerced into unsafe and brutal conditions just so they can have a next meal? We should be angry at these billionaires and the capitalist system that is preventing universal human needs.

In addition, the people “providing charity to impoverished countries” are the same people who are exploiting the cheap labor of those countries, extracting natural resources from those countries, and starting military atrocities that secure these countries to utilize for their own personal gain. They play a fake masquerade, funneling the wealth of the Global South into their own hands while pretending to care about human rights. The same people the media makes out to be the world’s saviors are the same people responsible for the death of civilians all around the globe. Charity would not need to exist if capitalism did not.

It should be clear that these billionaires are not on the same side as us in the fight for justice, no matter how glamorous they may seem at first glance. The wealth of the 1% does not trickle down to 99%, and capitalism makes sure of it.

Are you a billionaire? Is your friend a billionaire? If not, the wealth accumulation of the 1% does not speak for you or benefit you in any way.

So, what happens now? What should we realize? We should know that the average person is much closer to poverty than being a billionaire. With this in mind, we can start on the roadwork to fully understand and foster class solidarity, taking action to bring mutual care to the working class.

Class consciousness, the awareness of one’s role in class society, can allow us to identify the oppressors and side with the oppressed. This consciousness, along with developing an anti-capitalist energy among our peers, is an important step to liberating the working class and all oppressed peoples. We must take this realization and push it into action.

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celine qin 🌷

creative writer focused on healing, feminism, & the liberating politics of it all ☆°•.¸☆¸.•°☆