Reflections on the Public Good in the New Gilded Age.
Queen's Quarterly 1999, Spring, 106, 1
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In the early decades of this century, productivity gains in such industries as steel making and automobile manufacturing took place at a breathtaking pace. The outline of an affluent new satiety began to take shape -- only to come crashing down in depression and world war. By the postwar years, Western nations had learned something important about productivity gains and distribution of wealth. Unfortunately, the hard lessons of the past seem to have been forgotten during the present-day technological revolution. There are a remarkable number of "feel good" books penned by the wealthy plutocrats of our day. My favourite of these motivational volumes is Bill Gates' 1995 work, The Road Ahead. Just before his personal fortune skyrocketed by $20 billion in a single year -- the greatest short-term accumulation of wealth by one individual in the history of the world -- Gates wrote that Adam Smith would have been pleased by the way capitalism has proved its advantages over other systems in the 1990s. It would be odd indeed if Gates did not have that opinion. In 1996-97, as North American stock markets soared upward, one and a half per cent of all the market gains went to Bill Gates personally -- to one man on a continent of 300 million people.
- 2,99 €
- Category: Performing Arts
- Published: 22 March 1999
- Publisher: Queen's Quarterly
- Print Length: 11 Pages
- Language: English