Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rich and Scared

Just to re-emphasize what you already know intellectually. As events spiral downward during major negative-mood eras, fear can take over and rational thought goes out the window. For men and women grinding it out as employees, that can mean being paralyzed by fear after getting fired from their job or a deep-seated rage at some faceless entity that is the cause such as "the government" or "big corporations" or one of a hundred various ethnic or social groupings. Policies favored by voters in times of extreme negativity can very well lead to catastrophic social consequences down the road.

For the wealthy, especially the very wealthy, fear plays an enormous factor in decisions to deploy that wealth, to support (or oppose) political candidates or even to choose where and how to live.

As a recent article from WSJ.com puts it:

Why the Rich Fear Violence in the Streets
By Robert Frank
Last year, I was at a billionaire’s home in California and I asked him to describe his biggest worry. He pointed to a 19th century painting on the wall, which depicted a female beggar receiving alms from a wealthy gentleman and giving her patron a flower in return.

“That’s what I worry about,” he said. “But instead of flowers, she’s got guns. Violence in the streets, aimed at the wealthy. That’s what I worry about...”

The socionomic drivers for this era of negative mood are still murky to me. I do think the global conglomo banks will suffer immensely - first financially (the tremors in Europe are making more than one highly paid banker sweat in his $1,000 suit right now), then politically as they are easy targets. But could we see a descent into full-blown "class" warfare? That's something the U.S. has historically been fairly immune to, especially compared to Europe. But how will the rich react when the riots come? Will they flee in droves? Build up fortified residences? Actually engage their communities and deploy their wealth to keep some of the angry young males off the streets? Something else?

Home and personal security will continue to be big earners if you have the right clientele, I imagine, at least in the near term.

h/t globalguerrillas


Jeff Gerritsen said...

The rich should be scared. After losing my job / career, house, and now at 55 trying to find work is nothing but impossible.

I can tell you this, I will not shed one tear for the rich, especially after what I've been through over the last 10 years - losing everything I hold financially dear.

Flagg707 said...

@Jeff Gerritsen: The rich and their policies are going to suffer badly. None of us are going to shed any tears when it comes to tearing down the system they built up in recent decades.

Best of luck to you in these challenging times.