Hamlet’s “to be, or not to be” is involuntarily invoked in one’s memory when one faces the necessity to objectively assess the meaning of one’s being.
The recent death of the oldest billionaire in the world – David Rockefeller provoked a retrospective analysis across global media of the things he achieved. There was a joke about the founder of the Rockefeller dynasty – John Rockefeller that allegedly dreamed of earning a million dollars and see his 100th birthday. He became a billionaire, but died at 97. David outlived the first Rockefeller by only 4 years.
But when one starts speaking about Rockefellers, it is interesting that neither David’s nor John’s biography come to mind, but their active attempts to redraw the entire world in accordance with their “family values.”
David Rockefeller had been surrounded by rumors until his last days. It was frequently stated that he managed the world through a mysterious organization of wealthy likeminded billionaires – the so-called World Government. Yet, one can hardly describe such rumors as groundless, as David was an active supporter of globalization and made great efforts to manually steer complex international processes. In particular, he devoted considerable time to the problem of energy and water shortages, suggesting in particular to the UN to think about regulating the population of the planet, without even being embarrassed by the fact that such ideas were just a step away from eugenics.
In fact, David Rockefeller was not listed at the very top of the richest people of the world. In Forbes World’s Billionaires list published on March 20, 2017, he occupied the 581st place with an amassed fortune of 3.3 billion dollars.
In this context, one cannot help but remember the recent Oxfam study, according to which just eight of the richest men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity.
At the heart of this study is the rapidly growing income inequality that is far worse than most people would assume, which threatens the very development of mankind as a race. Last year alone some 210 people became billionaires, joining the club of the 1,426 richest people, that hold up to 5.4 trillion dollars in their collective fortunes. According to experts, with such a rate, the first trillionaire may appear in the next 25 years.
It is noteworthy that the list of the richest people consists mostly of Americans, with the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, sitting at the top with 75 billion dollars. Moreover, one third of the world’s richest people live in the United States. Today’s world has changed so much that the richest people do not own factories anymore, they provide services. Even Microsoft has been transformed into a marketing firm, with its budget for advertising being much higher than for research and development, as for production, it only gets a small margin of all investments. The second richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Elu, runs telecommunications services, while the third, Warren Edward Buffet, is involved in financial services. The US financial sector has become one of the leading producers of billionaires in the world, with almost 30% of American billionaires a part of it.
The old branches of the economy associated with the production of goods, of course, do still exist, but they are being moved to developing countries to cut production costs.
The concentration of wealth in the hands of a small number of people is being achieved at the expense of the poorest of this world, with most of them being women. Thus, every tenth inhabitant of this planet is now forced to live on less than 2 dollars a day, and growing inequality condemns many millions of people to bitter poverty.
As for salaries that workers enjoy, they are getting smaller, and those at the head of business empires are getting multi-million bonuses, which destroys society and undermines the principles of democracy. Access to both medicine and education for those not privileged remains extremely limited, while corporations and the world’s richest people are found inventing new ways of evading taxes. Being poor these days means that your voice is being ignored, as governments dance to the tune of the rich, increasing military budget expenditures instead of investing in social care. In a sense, this is David Rockefeller’s legacy, the world his family has helped shape where wars assist the rich in becoming even richer, while addressing the “problem” of overpopulation that billionaires are so concerned about these days.
The rapidly growing dissatisfaction with bitter inequality has already triggered a series of high-profile political events, including Donald Trump’s and Rodrigo Duterte’s rise to power and, finally, the Brexit. That’s why today Hamlet’s soliloquy acquires a special meaning today and the answer to it is not in favor of the ruling elite.
Grete Mautner is an indepenent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”