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To reverse inequality, we need to expose the myth of the ‘free market’

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09.12.2020

How have a relative handful of billionaires – whose vast fortunes have soared even during the pandemic – convinced the vast majority of the public that their wealth shouldn’t be taxed in order to support the common good?

They have employed one of the oldest methods used by the wealthy to maintain wealth and power – a belief system that portrays wealth and power in the hands of a few as natural and inevitable.

Centuries ago it was the so-called “divine right of kings”. King James I of England and France’s Louis XIV, among other monarchs, asserted that kings received their authority from God and were therefore not accountable to their earthly subjects. The doctrine ended with England’s Glorious Revolution of the 17th century and the American and French revolutions of the 18th.

Its modern equivalent might be termed “market fundamentalism”, a creed that has been promoted by today’s super rich with no less zeal than the old aristocracy advanced divine right. It holds that what you’re paid is simply a measure of what you’re worth in the market.

If you amass a billion dollars you must deserve it because the market has awarded you that much. If you barely scrape by you have only yourself to blame. If millions of people are unemployed or their paychecks are shrinking or they have to work........

© The Guardian


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