Why Can’t Billionaires Advance the Common Good?


The cover of the May 20, 2020 issue of Forbes magazine carries a picture of Larry Ellison, billionaire founder of Oracle Corporation. On page 114, there’s a Billionaires Index that runs six more pages in very small print. The following becomes clear:

  1. Almost every country has billionaires. Even Venezuela and Zimbabwe each has one billionaire.
  2. The U.S. has the largest number of billionaires, around 624.
  3. China has the second largest number of billionaires, 390. Not bad for a country professing communism. In fact, the number of Chinese billionaires is even higher, because Hong Kong is listed separately with 66 billionaires, and independent Taiwan adds additional 40 Chinese billionaires. …

Philip Kotler

I would argue that runaway CEO salaries are harming our middle class and dampening the economy without offering a corresponding benefit.

I remember hearing that JP Morgan decided to raise CEO Jamie Dimon’s pay by 35 percent! He would take home a pay of $27 million in 2015!

The JPMorgan directors must think that Jamie Dimon is singularly responsible for the rise in JP Morgan’s revenue and profits in 2015. The directors admit that a few other executives have helped. They raised the payout I of their two operating officers and their asset manager by several million. …

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Biden, Sanders and Trump: Who Best Delivers on the Common Good?

Philip Kotler

Every election ends in a call for fresh thinking and planning. Joe Biden has clearly described his views on the nation’s major issues, which are largely centrist. Bernie Sanders has described his views, which are largely progressive. Moreover, Trump’s views are well known and primarily conservative and nationalistic.

Let us add that each of the three political leaders has a strong following. This alone makes it difficult for a new leader, here Joe Biden, to get much done. …

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Philip Kotler

The Trump administration released its defense budget on February 12, 2018. It asked for $686 billion. Defense amounts to 62 percent of the proposed total federal spending budget. The defense cost is even higher if you include other costs in the total budget, such as the $88.9 billion that pays for the War on Terror, including military operations in Iraq, Syria, and the War in Afghanistan. One could add other agencies’ costs that include the FBI and Cybersecurity, the National Nuclear Security Administration, Homeland Security, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the State Department. These add $181.3 billion to the base budget. …

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The billionaire Bill Gates recently suggested that a big tax increase, the one implied by adding a wealth tax, would hurt economic growth. “I do think if you tax too much you do risk the capital formation, innovation, U.S. as the desirable place to do innovative companies — I do think you risk that.”

Bill Gates may have his facts backward. When he founded Microsoft in 1975, the top marginal tax rate on personal income was 70 percent and the estate tax was even more formidable. That didn’t stop him for starting Microsoft.

I would argue that the growing level of wealth concentration is making all of us poorer! The more money in the hands of the few, the slower our rate of economic growth and the slower our rate of job creation. …

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I remember hearing that JP Morgan decided to raise CEO Jamie Dimon’s pay by 35 percent! He will take home a pay of $27 million in 2015!

The JPMorgan directors think that Jamie is singularly responsible for the rise in JP Morgan’s revenue and profits in 2015. Or they admit that a few other executives have helped. They decided to raise the salaries by several millions of their two operating officers and their asset manager.

How long is this corporate pay rigging going to continue before we have a second French Revolution at the gates of JPMorgan?

Let’s look at some other CEO…

Why is it that in a rich country like the U.S., poverty continues to affect 50 million citizens, about 15 percent of our citizens? At the other end, the top 0.1% of our citizens receive 40% of all income and own 40% of all our wealth. Numerous studies show that our income distribution, instead of getting more equitable, is growing more inequitable over time.

Is this an inevitable feature of capitalism? Those with capital continue to grow richer. …

The Consumer in the Age of Coronavirus

Philip Kotler

The coronavirus COVID-19 is spreading relentlessly through the world creating a path of death and destruction. The world is in danger of falling into a Great Depression, with millions of unemployed workers across the globe. The impact will especially hit the poor — both in terms of health and economics; many cannot even afford to wash their hands because of the lack of water. What will happen to the millions that cannot practice social distancing? The slum dwellers, the prison population, and the refugees huddled in tents?

Businesses are closing down, and people are urged to stay home, practice social distancing, and vigorously wash their hands. People are stocking up on all kinds of food and sundries that are part of daily living. Some are hoarding masks, toilet paper, and other necessities should COVID-19 linger on for weeks, months, or…

Managing the Economy’s Return to Normal

Philip Kotler

At some point, the nation will be ready to make a decision to reopen the economy. Certain conditions would have to take place:

· The number of new infections would need to show a steady decline.

· Persons who have not been infected might have to continue in certain areas to wear face masks, hand wash frequently, avoid handshaking, and minimize close personal interactions. They might have to take an antibody test that certifies that they can attend major gatherings.

· The nation would be able to test everyone who has symptoms and be able to trace their recent contacts. …

Ruminations on Living a Happy Life

Philip Kotler

Most of my life, I have been too busy to reflect on my life. There were so many things that I wanted to do. I knew that life was too short. I remember reading a book with the title “The Hundred Things You Must See.” I must see the Pyramids and Sphinx of Egypt, Machu Picchu in Peru, the Galapagos islands in Ecuador, the Taj Mahal in India, the Vatican and works of Michelangelo, and many others. I started to see these inspiring places. …

Philip Kotler

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