Friday, March 14, 2014

Being Rich Doesn't Mean Knowledge about Other Issues

In his article, "Stop Listening to Rich People," Matthew Yglesias argues that just because people make a lot of money in business, we should not assume that they have any special insights on any other issues.

Yglesisas is responding to a letter written in the Wall Street Journal by venture capitalist Tom Perkins in which he "parallels fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its 'one percent,' namely the Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the 'rich.' "

"Who better to solve the world's problems than the people who benefit from the status quo?" asked one person who commented on the article. 

In the U.S., we look up to people with a lot of money – even though the image of the 1% is probably slipping. Still, the super rich often expect and are given higher status on other hierarchies that are not based on accumulating wealth. In our hierarchical society, we are trained to transfer status from one hierarchy to another, even if the criteria used to establish the hierarchies are not related.

Yglesisas is correct to remind us not to assume that rich people have expertise in any other subject besides making money. We need to make a point to scrutinize or even ignore their comments on social and political issues.