The very question of whether anyone could really, reasonably make use of billions of dollars aside, it may be surprising to hear that it is possible be a billionaire without exploiting others, causing inequality, damaging the society or environment.
It may be even more surprising to hear that egalitarian, pro-people viewpoints and ideologies do not forbid anyone from making money or being considerably rich.
Such viewpoints only require a few simple, harmonious ideals protected:
- Distribute the economic value you generate equitably among the people who participate in your company or organization
- Have the least hierarchical, most flat organization structure possible
- People in the company or organization should have a say in the governance of the organization
- Engage in honest, legal economic activities
- Protect the environment
- Pay your taxes to support society and the infrastructure
As long as these simple ideals are protected, you can knock yourself out while making as much money as you can. And you will be a net benefit to society!
Let’s have some examples:
The App Company
You came together with friends or colleagues and create a company. You make an app. The app turns out great and millions of people use it on a daily basis. You make billions of dollars.
You distribute the revenue equitably — you have good salaries, and on top of that, you distribute considerable stock options. Everyone gets a pie, with billionaires, millionaires minted.
Moreover, your company has mechanisms for employees/members to provide feedback about the organization and participate in governance and decision-making. Everyone is happy.
Your company made an app that is useful to a lot of people, and a lot of people paid for it to use it. The app has a fair price and it respects privacy.
Your company is as green as possible, and it has a pretty good track record in backing environmental efforts.
On top of that, the company paid its proper taxes to support the society in which it operates.
You are 100% golden.
Not only this can be done, but also it is being done by many — a lot of startups operating in the tech space fit into these criteria or come pretty near in checking all the boxes. They provide stock options and good salaries to their members, they have flat organization structures, they put effort into being environmentally friendly while doing honest business. Some even pursue the lofty ideal of having people have ownership of whatever aspect of the product that they work on.
You are a writer, podcaster, comedian, video maker or any type of creator you can imagine.
You write your own books, record your own podcasts or videos, and you, yourself, publish them directly to your audience. People pay for them directly or in other ways.
Your content is honest, entertaining, insightful or useful, people are happy to consume your content.
You did not use a ghostwriter for your book, you didn’t use any underpaid contractor for your video or podcast. If other people worked with you, they were compensated with fair, egalitarian payments from the profits.
You are 100% golden.
A lot of egalitarian-minded, pro-people intellectuals go this route — publishing books — to make money. It’s a historic method for egalitarian, pro-society, ethically considerate or left-wing people to avoid exploiting anyone while making money.
And today many more people are taking this route, or have the choice of taking this route, thanks to the rise of the creator economy in which creative people can make a good living — even millions of dollars yearly.
This new method may not have created billionaires yet, however it sure is creating many millionaires.
As you can see, the requirements for getting wealthy without exploiting others and harming society are very simple and easily fulfilled.
Which brings up the question: Why aren’t more people doing it?