MWT Controversy – Plutocrats & Pitchforks

Nick Hanauer is a billionaire entrepreneur, venture capitalist, civic activist, philanthropist, and author. He has founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries, with great success. As a few highlights, he co-founded a company called aQuantive that sold to Microsoft for $6.4 billion, and was the first non-family investor in Amazon.

Meanwhile Hanauer, a “proud and unapologetic capitalist,” has also been looking closely at society’s growing inequality gap, and the consequences it holds for our shared destiny — and the ultimate fate of our democracies. He is the co-author of the books The True Patriot, and The Gardens of Democracy. In the summer of 2014, Hanauer published a much-shared essay in Politico that suggests, if societal inequality is allowed to grow unchecked, modern societies could start looking an awful lot like pre-Revolutionary France.

Thoughts & Questions for Discussion:
• Has rapid technological growth contributed to the level of income disparity?
• To what extent?
• Assuming that our economy is driven by the consumer, what would be the principal arguments for raising minimum wage across the board?
• Arguments against?
• Does “Supply Side Economics” (formerly called “trickle down economics”) help promote economic growth?
• In what ways?
• Dan Ariely on TED: How equal do we want the world to be? You’d be Surprised.

Further Reading & Charts on Wealth Distribution in America:
Eleven Charts On Income and Wealth Distribution – from
Economic Inequality: It’s far worse than you think – from Scientific American
Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% – from Vanity Fair
Exploding Wealth Inequality – from
The growing gap between middle and upper income families – from Pew Research

4 Comments on “MWT Controversy – Plutocrats & Pitchforks

  1. The “Super Chickens” in the talk, are the problem. They are destroying our flock, and flocks. Plutocrats are our Super Chickens problem.

    This TED talk is really about productivity, and the promise of solving our big problems.

    We need to learn to treat everyone as equals, with equal voices. We need more people talk, and less money talk.

    We the people need to form a REAL Unions, to help our Super Chickens recover, their humanity.

    I have my presentation on TQLeadership, that addresses one way of how any person, team, organization, or country can optimize their productivity, profitability, and promise. Contact me when interested.

  2. Cost of college discussion: The $1000 scholarship I referred to paid for four full years of college at the University of Illinois in the early ’60. (This amount doesn’t cover room and board). For the 2015-16 year, students will pay about $25,000 per year x 4= $100,000. (Again, that amount doesn’t cover room and board: add an addition 11,00 each year! Is today’s degree really 144,000 times more valuable than the one I received in 1963? Who can afford $144,000 for a four-year college education? And, graduating with thousands of dollars in loan debts just does not make sense. Some ideas I’ve heard are three-year college degrees. But, that poses problems, too. You can already start brainstorming those. College professors are paid at the level of CEO’s in many cases because the logic goes that universities have to pay high salaries so they don’t lose professors to industries. That argument should be reexamined! Why would a professor have to make $150,000-200,000 a year? If he/she makes more with research grants, etc, fine! Something needs fixed, for sure .

  3. Thank you for sharing Nick Hanauer’s TED talk with class. It would be great if that talk was presented on national television.
    My only disagreement with the talk is the bit about pitchforks. I don’t believe that he will convince any of his fellow plutocrats that they should worry about the pitchforks or that sharing the wealth will improve their profits. Opening a few valves will stop the raising waters and maintain the status quo.
    So what can individuals do to attack that “wall” that is so strongly supported by powerful lobbyist and our political parties? Individuals can do little on their own. It will take the power of oranizations that represent large voting blocks or big money to buy the votes (contributions of cash) of our representatives. Yes, “buy votes” because that is what the lobbyist do and continue to do because it works.
    Does anyone know of organizations will attack the “wall” and support “we the people” and not the special interest groups. I have found one called “No Labels” that claims to be for good government only and is not Liberal, Conservative, Republican, for Democratic Party leaning. Please share your ideas and check them out:


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s