On air: Are you proud of your country’s richest people?

I’m sure he’s coping, but Bill Gates is no longer the world’s richest man according to Forbes magazine. That honour goes to the Mexican telcom giant Carlos Slim. The Chinese and Brazilians are also making a march on the top spots. So is the rise of these developing world billionaires something for their countries to be proud of? Do you look at the richest where you live and think they reflect well on you and your fellow countrymen and women?

Or do you have an issue with anyone having wealth on this scale? Is it obscene for one individual to have more money than whole cities in their country?

110 Responses to “On air: Are you proud of your country’s richest people?”

  1. 1 patti in cape coral
    March 11, 2010 at 16:05

    No, I’m not proud of my country’s richest people, don’t really feel much about them at all. I don’t feel they reflect on me or my country of origin one way or another. They only represent themselves. What is a source of pride to me? With the help of google, I have fixed my doorbell, my garbage disposal, my dishwasher, and my toilet. Now that’s pride!

  2. 3 Ibrahim in UK
    March 11, 2010 at 16:11

    The gap between rich and poor exists everywhere. In developing countries it is all the more extreme and apparent and is only highlighted even more when individuals from the developing world are worth more than their cities. But that is not an issue in itself. It only becomes a problem if the wealth was gained illicitly and if the wealth (and power that comes with it) is used illictly. Of course, we would all like it if these wealthy individuals invest/give their money to causes which alleviate poverty and suffering, but it is their money, and their right to decide how to spend it.

  3. 4 username
    March 11, 2010 at 16:13

    Nobody should need more than a million for their entire life

  4. March 11, 2010 at 16:15

    One should respect self-made men or women who have through sheer dint of hard work, courage and conviction and a belief in themselves become wealthy. These self-made people have blazed a trail and made their millions or billions. They have not massed their wealth through shady deals or schemes. Everybody loves a winner and respects the winner even more for talent, ingenuity and humility. Bill Gates leads this pack of well-known .philanthropists

  5. 7 Roy, Washington DC
    March 11, 2010 at 16:22

    Wealth concentration is one of the drawbacks of capitalism. It is absolutely ridiculous for one person to have the equivalent wealth of a small country. The alternative, though, would be something like socialism — and we all know how well the USSR did.

    Another thing to observe is that, especially in the USA, a wildly disproportionate number of politicians are wealthy. It almost seems to be a requirement. Wealth conjures a mental image of political corruption, and this is largely why.

  6. 8 nora
    March 11, 2010 at 16:22

    As a child of a Scottish working class mum, pride in the super-rich is totally impossible for me. Let me quote the late Frank Zappa “…and if you want to find me, just before dawn, I’ll be knocking the jockeys off of rich peoples lawns; in Beverly Hills”.

    I do not think that Telecom Slim or Oprah or Bill Gates will save the world, but I am glad when they give their money away to worthy causes . I am more impressed when the medium rich like Sean Penn give their time, hit up their friends to help and come back needing to get a new gig to pay for the charity habit.

    The celebrity billionaire thing is vaguely nauseating, sort of like Breugel’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse with the masses trodden beneath the hoofs and the angel at the top. The celebrity billionaire usually has some trodden masses that get photoshopped out of the picture.

  7. March 11, 2010 at 16:25

    Its not very important to know about a person how rich he or she is, rather the essential imprtance is to know how good he or she is to the humanity with his or her riches.

  8. 10 Fotso
    March 11, 2010 at 16:26

    Some of them are using the money to help people through road and hospital construction. Others are just selfish people who do not care about the their immediate neighbor and will not hesitate to chase them away.

  9. March 11, 2010 at 16:37

    No! I am NOT proud of my country’s wealthy. I am more and more convinced that in our country and in most places to varying degrees, the rich are the powerful and that power far eclipses by a complex means the power of any individual to vote in a democracy. Everything is for sale at the end of the day, and those with money and power want more and the casualty will generally be those on the bottom. I just watched Michael Moore’s Capitalism, A Love Story and while he has a flair for the dramatic which I don’t appreciate, the overall conclusions he makes are dead on. I wouldn’t mind seeing a peasants revolt of sorts in this country. It’s time for a seachange.

  10. 12 gary indiana
    March 11, 2010 at 16:38

    No, not really. I mean, I understand free enterprise and the seemingly inevitable accumulation of wealth by a few folks; but I also well understand the level of covert immorality imbedded in modern business practice.

  11. March 11, 2010 at 16:41

    As a Mexican citizen, it is really a shame having the richest man in the World when more than 50% of Mexicans are poor and more than 20 million are absolute poor. Even more, many people in Mexico believe that the genuine origin of the wealthiness of Slim Helu is dubious.

  12. 14 Andrew in Australia
    March 11, 2010 at 16:47

    Nope I certainly don’t.

    For the simple reason that history has shown us that invariably the richest people not just in my country, but across the globe have been shown to either be corrupt or downright crooked, despite the tired old excuse of providing employment (as if whoever filled their void could not do so either) they do not contribute their fair share of tax, are often involved in dishonest business practices and generally hide their immorality with so-called charitable works and altruistic humanitarian endeavours. Well, that is easy when you have tens of millions to spare and barely had to work for that amount of money. Simply ripped off the competition, greased political wheels or profit from the toil of others who are exploited.

  13. 15 Allan-Houston, Texas
    March 11, 2010 at 16:47

    I don’t consider these people to be “of my own country” as you put it. They are Internationalists who happen to carry a Mexican or a U.S. passport or one from whatever country of convenience they choose.
    I recall not too many years ago reading the congressional (U.S.) testimony of the head of an multinational conglomerate. He was asked how his business decisions impacted the U.S. His response: so far as he was concerned that was an irrelevant question.
    So do I feel pride? Absolutely not. Nor do I fee envy. I understand and applaud their success but not the obscene degree of wealth they have attained.

  14. 16 Nigel
    March 11, 2010 at 16:51

    There are people who got rich through hard work, sacrifice and making the best use of the opportunities presented to them. There are others who made their money questionably. Of the former I am very proud.

  15. 18 Chintan in Houston
    March 11, 2010 at 17:03

    The best benefit of having more billionaires in a country is that it generated more tax revenues for the state. Also billionaires tend to invest back in their communities that creates jobs which is certainly important.

    I would only be proud of their accomplishments if they did philanthropic activities like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet with their immense wealth. That’s the sole reason I buy Microsoft products because I know at the end of the day the profits are utilized for greater good in this world.

  16. 19 Bert
    March 11, 2010 at 17:03

    Presumably, the riches of these rich people create jobs for others in their countries. After all, someone has to keep all their mansions running. It isn’t going to be the hyper-rich homeowner, right?

    I have to admit that when I see the hyper-rich in a developing country, it makes me suspicious. Did they get there with bribes?

    In any event, wherever they are from, I am neither impressed nor envious of them. I’m glad not to be one of them. I can’t imagine anything more repulsive than having to stress over money 24/7, constantly having to deal with bloodsuckers after my wealth, and having to deal with people who are overly obsequious just because I have money. You live in a phoney world, surrounded by phoneys.

  17. 20 Idris Dangalan
    March 11, 2010 at 17:04

    Nope because most were so called richest but they were killing people. Am from northern part of Nigeria the same state with richest person in Africa in the name Dangote but i dont think he has any charity or foundation but Rochas has foundation to take of needies to school free. General T. Y Danjuma donates 19 billions Naira ($100m) to charity, I mean most richest in this country werent helping hands. Who is General Danjuma and Rochas compared to Dangote,Dantata,Obasanjo and Okada. I prefer poor neighbour than rich.

  18. 21 stephen/portland
    March 11, 2010 at 17:22

    No wonder this Mexican guy is the richest, he banged on my door last week and he quoted me $100k to cut the grass and $50k to trim some trees.

    I told him I would think about it.

  19. 23 nora
    March 11, 2010 at 17:26

    As a woman who has given birth, the idea of the ‘self-made man’ is fiction.

    It took a mother to create Bill Gates and a wife to get him to spend on charity. Gates used the best years of many peoples lives to create wealth and perhaps there was a more just way to share the profit on the way up.

  20. March 11, 2010 at 17:26

    We are proud of one of the richest fellow of our country country Pakistan, Mr. Abdul Sattar Edhi who devotes his collected money for the welfare of humanity locally and if possible globally.

  21. 25 Gary Paudler
    March 11, 2010 at 17:28

    As a class, it would be silly to be proud of all rich people. There is no direct relationship between intelligence or hard work and wealth nor is there a correlation between wealth and ethics.
    Gates and Buffet are evidently very smart and hard workers and doing good things
    with their amassed wealth but neither seem to be creative, more simply astute at identifying and exploiting opportunities. They have both made colossal mistakes that would ruin somebody without a billion dollar buffer and neither made the world a better place or improved anybodies lives while building their riches. They do deserve credit for giving away so much money. There are plenty of criminal or near-criminal greedheads in every country who are not admirable no matter how much they’ve stolen.
    Here, I have fallen into the common trap equating “rich” with having lots of money; I hate that material wealth is the only way that society recognizes success. I do admire somebody who expresses love and has the love of others, who is generous, kind and creative. Those people don’t find themselves on lists in magazines.

  22. March 11, 2010 at 17:32

    Billions of rupees and things worth billions he collects from the people and he spends them liberally in the welfare of humanity directly or indirectly.

  23. 27 Bob in Florida
    March 11, 2010 at 17:33

    Becoming rich, even obscenely rich, is the way of a capitalistic economy. To become rich as some third-world “leaders” do by treating their countries treasury as their own personal bank account is just plain wrong and corrupt.

    The problem that I have with rich folks is that many of them are treated as celebrities with people fawning after them as hangers on trying to curry favor and glom on to some of their wealth. Worse yet are those who use their wealth to influence at the expense of the people. And then there are those who flaunt their wealth in front of those less fortunate. These folks I can do without.

    Most wealthy folks do nothing to develop industries that provide jobs. One has to look no further than the wealthy investment bankers and CEOs who are just employees of a corporation. They do not use any of their own wealth in the enterprise.

  24. 28 Marija Liudvika Rutkauskaite
    March 11, 2010 at 17:35

    Hello! and thank you for the slot to respond.
    I must say I am neutral on the account of the rich. When one is moderately provided, one can afford to read little about them and to forget or ignore their vulgar ways. What does offend even a neutral person is the ways by which most of the new rich acquired their wealth in Eastern Europe. It is by greedy often unlawful possesions, disowning the formerly common property, speculations and cheating.
    It is the brazen ways and aggressive advancement that did the trick for them. This seems to be very unfair especially that they wallow in luxury while there are many very poor around. All people lived very restricted not so long ago and the common division of the supply fed all not to have beggars on the streets. I do not think that poverty is a virtue or that one can eradicate it by simple giving but the common property of the recent past belonged equally to those very rich and very poor now. The clever have become rich by mere usurping. Is it fair? Thank you
    Marija Liudvika Rutkauskaite

  25. March 11, 2010 at 17:40

    Riches that are beneficial for the welfare of humanity is worth praise and appreciation.

  26. 30 Peter in jamaica
    March 11, 2010 at 17:44

    I’m not Jamaican but i do live here but if i was it would be a resounding NO!!! This countries wealthy are extremely selfish and demeaning to others not on the same economic scale. Some of them boast that they are Christians but get them to act the part would be blasphemy for them.
    With the religious aspect aside though the rich here do not consider who helped or how they accumulated their wealth nor do they don’t consider their own workers. So the idea of philanthropy is a strange word to them and not in their vocabulary. So you tell me why would anyone be proud of the wealthy here, if anything i would say that they resent them even more every day and the more wealthier they get.

  27. 31 Guido, Vienna
    March 11, 2010 at 17:51

    Before I can think of being proud, I ask the question how they get so rich? Have the used the market position or the influence on powerful people to increase their wealth on the cost of the rest of the population?

    I do not think that for getting is generally bad, but we should ask questions.

  28. 32 T
    March 11, 2010 at 17:53

    No I’m not. How many have consistently put themselves on the line for a worthwhile cause? None.

    One reason/ We live in a soundbite culture. These people know that the most of the public has a very short attention span. Another is it’s not their job to fix these problems, right? Leave it to the politicians. Which never works.

  29. 33 Andrew in Australia
    March 11, 2010 at 17:57

    Just on the point being raised here that they provide employment.

    Think about Gates for one. Microsoft became the huge monopoly it is by crushing its opponents they could not buy. This had the effect of not only creating competition and driving diversity or creativity, but stifled it, probably set back creative design back by many years. And how many jobs were lost when companies were bought out or closed down as a result.

    The same for any other tycoon’s huge multinational conglomerate. I seriously doubt there is one super rich individual you could point at and say, what a truly decent businessman they are. It just doesn’t happen as money and power are concentrated in these people… and what is that old proverb about power corrupting?

  30. 34 nora
    March 11, 2010 at 18:02

    I can’t believe you printed Steve’s racist joke. Three times I tried to address Netanyahu and war crimes yesterday and got censored, today I see cheap demeaning jokes stereotyping Mexicans. My Mexican son-in-law is a civic budget analyst who sometimes tunes in to the show. You know he has heard it before…

  31. 35 adam j carroll
    March 11, 2010 at 18:09

    the bill and Melinda gates foundation does a lot of good charity work around the us and internationally but i do not feel that they represent the us specifically. regardless of a country people will strive for success. their success does provide for many others charity aside. think of all the jobs the gentleman in Mexico has created or how many people work at a virgin store because of branson. just because they do not use their wealth to become superheros does not mean they are villains.

  32. 36 Robyn Lexington, KY USA
    March 11, 2010 at 18:28

    It amazes me how many people think they know how rich people think. I don’t belong to that group of people so I don’t proclaim to know how they think. The ones I have had contact with are a mixed bag just like any other part of society. It is true the tax codes favor the rich. I have always thought a flat tax would make everything fair. To Nora Bill Gates had his fortune before he married his wife. I would call him a self made man. (this phrase has nothing to do with childbirth). There are alot of Wealthy people who contribute to their communities and charities and usually do it without fanfare or media. I am proud of these people. As for me, I am still buying lottery tickets.

  33. 37 nora
    March 11, 2010 at 18:45

    Robyn, you misread me: Gates needed, as I said, a woman to help him spend his money, not to make it. Melinda Gates helped him develop his conscience. Good for her.

  34. March 11, 2010 at 18:57

    It does not matter how much one has but how he or she spends in humanitarian causes counts.

  35. 39 pendkar
    March 11, 2010 at 18:58

    I feel indifferent. But they must inspire others on the same track

  36. 40 patti in cape coral
    March 11, 2010 at 18:59

    I wasn’t sure how to take Stephen in Portland’s comment either. I figure it was either :

    a) a bad joke (though I like his other jokes a lot),
    b) an ironic comment on how we should not hire undocumented workers, or
    c) an ironic comment on the fact that while this particular Mexican is a millionaire, milions of others are working for peanuts in foreign countries to try to lift their families out of poverty.

  37. March 11, 2010 at 18:59

    What is wrong with wealth? And what is wrong with the wealthy? I can see nothing wrong at all (unless achieved by corruption).How many of us strive for the best,for ourselves and our families but fail miserably and have to be satisfied with less than our goal.Then detest other people that did make it where we failed.We all know that wealth generates all sorts of goodies.Not exactly proud of rich people,they don’t belong to me.but yes,I will give them a pat on back.

  38. 42 Mike in Seattle
    March 11, 2010 at 19:07

    The issue I have with wealth is the fact that nations like the United States and the United Kingdom have such low rates of class mobility. I don’t care if someone has a lot of money, I’m upset that the middle class in this nation is going the way of the dodo bird.

  39. March 11, 2010 at 19:07

    Some riches of some people are kept as fat bank balances for just name and fame who ultimately depart / disappear from the face of the earth leaving all those either for their successors or for a strange reason, for none.

  40. March 11, 2010 at 19:11

    I am so disgusted that people would celebrate being this rich that I can’t even formulate an intelligent response. Children are dieing, and not just in some foreign third world country that you never have to worry about, they are dieing in your won backyard!!! The money these billionaires spend on simple living devices is enough to help alleviate starving and dieing people all over your country and the world. If we would only just care more about our brothers, and less about our personal material gain, we could all live longer, happier lives. It’s just sad, really. The more rich people my country has, the more ashamed I become.

  41. 45 mers in oregon
    March 11, 2010 at 19:11

    The philanthropic endeavors of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is well publicized. Do these new 3rd world billionares make similar charitable efforts?

  42. 46 audre
    March 11, 2010 at 19:13

    No, I am not proud. They are rich because profit is all that matters. When they put workers before profit, I will be proud.

  43. 47 Jin
    March 11, 2010 at 19:14

    No. I’m Chinese, and I’m not proud of the millionaires emerging in China, especially when you think about how many Chinese are still living in poverty. I don’t care about super rich people, and I don’t think people should be proud of them — especially when most people who are equally hard working are not benefiting from the fortune they make on the expenses of the environment, public resources, and others’ labour.

  44. 48 Art
    March 11, 2010 at 19:14

    I have no issue with capitalism other than the ethics in acquisition but I do not look at rich people in a dictatorial or so called communist country as admirable or someone to duplicate.

    listen on KALW Alameda CA US

  45. 49 Mike in Seattle
    March 11, 2010 at 19:14

    By the way, why are we holding up Bill Gates and Microsoft as the model of benevolent business? In recent years they’ve gone from hiring full time employees with benefits to so called “perma-temps” that aren’t allowed benefits or even the right to organize.

    It’s great that the money is going to cure malaria in the third world, I commend him for that. I just think that maybe they can afford to compensate their employees a bit better.

  46. 50 Jitan C (NYC)
    March 11, 2010 at 19:16

    No, I am not proud of any of these super rich even if they are from my country, coz they are just plain selfish.
    How can you live in 16-room villas when the number of homeless in the 1st world is increasing everyday… How can you have $1,500 caviars when people can’t get one meal a day?
    Does anybody really need to be worth more than $10dn?

  47. 51 Lauren in Portland
    March 11, 2010 at 19:17

    I am not proud of our richest people of the world. While their riches accumulated, whom benefitted from it? What is the economic situation of those whom worked to get them to billionaire status? No one person can get there on their own.

  48. 52 tekkoo
    March 11, 2010 at 19:18

    Money is a yard stick of success, the more money a person makes, that means that person is successful for whatever he/she is doing.

  49. 53 Lamii Kpargoi
    March 11, 2010 at 19:20

    Why should I be happy/proud of the richest people in my country? They are usually just thieves who made their wealth from stealing from the public coffers. Instead of being proud of them, they should be the scorn of society and in jail!

  50. 54 Tom D Ford
    March 11, 2010 at 19:21

    I suggest that the real question here is:

    Are you proud of people who are incredibly greedy and abusive of power?

    No, I admire people who are moderate in their greed, and take only what they need, and who share power with their fellow human beings.

    Extreme wealth is pathological, in my opinion.

  51. 55 John From San Francisco
    March 11, 2010 at 19:22

    No I can’t feel proud. I just can’ help but think it would be better to pay the top people less and the bottom workers more. No one makes their billions alone.

  52. 56 Patrice in Portland
    March 11, 2010 at 19:23

    Honestly, can we compare the rich in America to the rich in other countries? If we look back at the days of Rockefeller, and the amount or desire of philanthropy of that time, I believe we would see the same kinds of sentiments and amount of motivation that exist in these industrialized and developing countries today.

  53. 57 Randy
    March 11, 2010 at 19:23

    As mentioned earlier, in a capitalistic structure someone has to get rich and someone else must get poor because the rewards are based upon ability. The only way to balance this is to guarantee all individuals a basic level of living and EQUALLY tax all wealth to ensure that.
    Many philanthropists are using the charity tax deduction so they could either give the money to the government or give it directly to their own charity.

  54. March 11, 2010 at 19:24

    In the USA, we have many celebrities and business women and men who have become very, very wealthy. I don’t think finding and making a product that sells and makes a person filthy rich is inherently obscene. I think trading stocks, swaps and hedge-fund money is. I think becoming very wealthy on the backs of poor people, coffee traders, makers of clothing & shoes, diamond mines to name a few, is. None-the-less, if a percentage of the profits are plowed back into the economy, in some way that assists the poorer population, libraries, free medical clinics to name a few, even these greed-heads have a measure of dignity.

  55. 59 nora
    March 11, 2010 at 19:28

    Mike in Seattle raises a great point. The ‘perma-temp’ status is carefully crafted to get around US labor law. Lots of people are suffering here in California. It seems that a lot of perky capitalist euphoria is flourishing in Miami right now..even WalMart love…

  56. 60 tekkoo
    March 11, 2010 at 19:30

    It is the rich people who make the wheels of the economy turn, without them the economy will stand still. That is why the Obama administration bailed out the banks which are considered rich entities.

  57. 61 mers in oregon
    March 11, 2010 at 19:31

    On the subject of education, I don’t believe that education must be of the conventional sort to ensure success. In fact, neither Bill Gates, nor my other favorite entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson, completed a college degree. I admire those who are so resourceful that their ingenuity and foresight elevates them above jumping through the hoops of conventional education than those who go through the system–this comes from someone who has two higher education degrees and is in the process of completing a third. I wish I had their brand of creativity!

  58. 62 Alexandra
    March 11, 2010 at 19:32

    Billionaires means starving people children & devastation.

    An economy is a closed circuit, whether it’s the world or a country, & in a closed circuit, where there’s only so much of something, it can’t be somewhere else.

    I think we’re here to evolve & make our own choices, so you can’t tell people what to do, but I think we’d all be better off if we refused to work for sub-living/povertywages. The tough think it’s so tough to be for this system of subsidized ripoff wages, but this is not the fact of how most people live!

    It is subsidized barbarity that people can become billionaires, it isn’t even survival of the fittest, it’s weak & pathetic – those who steal from children & those who can’t defend themselves.

  59. 63 dan
    March 11, 2010 at 19:33

    The girl who railed against Wal-Mart and wants all workers given big salaries, healthcare and whatever has never been in the actual business world.
    She can come work with me and maybe that will open her eyes to what happens in REAL life rather than in the classroom. She can see the real world competitive challenges from all over the world and pressures on businesses.

  60. 64 Roy, Washington DC
    March 11, 2010 at 19:34

    Question for the guest who was praising Walmart for creating jobs and giving people value —

    Is the short term economic gain worth the long term repercussions caused by such “value”?

  61. 65 August in US
    March 11, 2010 at 19:35

    In a capitalist society, with a concentration of wealth comes a concentration of power. When all wealth (and therefore power) concentrates with a very few, eventually the rest of the populace is going to get a mite upset. Does nobody remember the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution?

    All those numbers on a ledger will be of no use when there is a horde of peasants at your doorstep with pitchforks, torches, and nothing to lose.

  62. 66 anne in vancouver wa
    March 11, 2010 at 19:35

    they become billionaires on the backs of people who don’t earn a living wage. they can give back by paying a living wage to everyone that works for them.

  63. 67 Elias Lostrom
    March 11, 2010 at 19:36

    Sour Grapes! This discussion is just recycling the old leftist one where if you have a mercedes, they will take it away. There should be a reasonable base in any economy above which all or most should be above but there is no ceiling.. Go as high as you can.. eventually that money created will in one way of another be circulated in the society

    Elias Lostrom
    Dionysos in poor bankrupt Greece!!

  64. 68 abdellah
    March 11, 2010 at 19:36

    hello there
    i am abdellah rahmouni from algeria
    i think there is always a big gap between the rich and the poor people here in algeria you can find both classes you know
    personally i am not proud of the rich people in my country because they always seem to have power and so on

  65. 69 Jitan C (NYC)
    March 11, 2010 at 19:37

    What is the question here –

    Are we discussing that we should be proud of our nation’s rich and the richest? SO technically, if i do win the big lotto tomorrow my country should come up with a stamp in my name and felicitate me…

    The true Kings of the world were the ones who thought the world to live and not lived themselves as Kings!!!

  66. 70 dan
    March 11, 2010 at 19:38

    Let the girl who wants to give our wealth away go to work and then giver her money away. I am sure she will say it is good for everyone else but not her.
    Listen to her bleeding heart crying about the starving people who need the money and while they do, she has absolutely no idea how to distribute it. Maybe fly over the poor and drop dollars from a plane.

  67. 71 CJ McAuley
    March 11, 2010 at 19:39

    This should have been labeled: The Greed show! All people like Slim, Gates, and the Walmart empire have done is impoverish us all! I question the morality of anyone who aspires to such obscene wealth, even if they finally give it all away. If fact, I question if there is truly ANY “morality” left in business this century.

  68. 72 Jenny Monroy
    March 11, 2010 at 19:41

    I do admire Carlos Slim as the richest mexican business man. Work hard, and have the intelligence and guts to become rich is indeed admirable. He has done everything within the laws, but what makes most mexicans to disagree is that his companies come from country infraestructure and mexican wealth as a country, and then he just bought them in when mexican government allowed privatizations, like Telmex (the biggest telephone company in Mexico) for example. So, instead of the people getting benefits for the resources of the country, through government channels, we (mexicans) either work for him, to increase his wealth instead of the country’s; or at least we are locked consumers from Carlos Slim’s companies. His empire is so big in Mexico, than its’ practiclally an “entrepenaurial monarqui” I’d say. A country with no business competition will never grow, so we are depending on just one company owner.
    Not that government is good at all at running companies, like Pemex (our petrol government company), but at least the resources from there come in a more direct way to the country.

  69. 73 Bert
    March 11, 2010 at 19:42

    Susan is a breath of fresh air.

    I get the sense that people who expect the rich and successful to hand out cash left and right do come across as expecting something for doing nothing.

    Taxes are the medium for distributing wealth. The wealthy only become that way because they invest in their business, creating opportunities for many others while doing so.

    I don’t worship wealth by any means. But at the same time, I don’t demonize it either.

    And NO, it makes no sense to tax the wealthy at such a huge rate that all their wealth is taken away by government bureaucrats. I have a hard time appreciating those who feel so virtuous at spending EVERYONE ELSE’s money.

    • 74 Bob in oregon, usa
      March 11, 2010 at 19:57

      While a few become wealthy by creating a valuable business, and and society does benefit, I think many more become wealthy by unfair and illegal means. Too often the true inventor/developer business loses out and ends up broke while another business is successful more to do with who they know, cheating, corruption, and worse.


  70. 75 Kacey
    March 11, 2010 at 19:43

    It comes down to what a human has an inherent right to. Define the minimum level of existance and what it costs. Then tax everyone that makes more than that at the same rate.

  71. 76 Mike in Seattle
    March 11, 2010 at 19:43

    Of course high earners should pay more – without the public and legal structures afforded by world governments protecting their businesses and their employees their fortunes would be impossible.

  72. 77 Jovan
    March 11, 2010 at 19:45

    There is nothing to be proud of. While 5% of the world population enjoys all the merits presented to them by means of acquiring money, 95% of the world population struggle to overcome everyday hindering obstacles. It is the 21st century yet we still witness children dieing from curable diseases. This is shameful and acts as a constant reminder of the perils that plight this world as a result of widening gap between the rich and the poor. Moreover, despite the fact that capitalists provide employment for the poor segments, these jobs are menial and keep the very employees in a vicious cycle of poverty. There are many more arguments against feeling proud for the elites, and the social school of thought has addressed these arguments in detail, many of which are beyond the scope of this post.

  73. 78 John From San Francisco
    March 11, 2010 at 19:45

    You can’t expect philanthropy from the rich to equal the effect of paying the bottom people more and not having gaps of 200% to 300% between the top and the bottom.

  74. 79 Leslie
    March 11, 2010 at 19:46

    If someone works 80-100 hours a week or more, why should they give away the majority of the money they make? What then is the incentive to work hard? If you deny people the ability to make a lot of money, you take away the only reason many people have to give up much of their life to working long hours and not having a social life. This will be detrimental to the entire society, as the great inventors and entrepreneurs may not put in the work required to create new things that improve the lives of many (ie, disease research, technological innovations, etc).

    I agree that we should try to foster an environment of giving in our society, but to force people to give away their hard-earned money is ridiculous.

  75. 80 Alan in AZ
    March 11, 2010 at 19:47

    It’s easy to be proud of someone like Bill Gates who gives back to his community, country and the rest of the planet. But giving something like 50% of their profit to those less fortunate. That’s totally stupid! Let those less fortunate, study harder in school and come up with their own ideas like the students there at the University. Charity to disaster areas and community improvement should be the thing. Let the high school and college drop outs fend for themselves. They blew off their chance at an education. Offer it to someone that wants it, by putting some of the charity funds to education around the world and not monetary support.

    • 81 Halima
      March 12, 2010 at 08:33

      you assume that people who are rich earned it and people who are poor did not.
      While that is sometimes part of the picture, there are also elements of greed and fair minded-ness. Do not forget that Gates built his fortune on making something which became a virtual monopoly while simultaneously, people whose passion and skill was perhaps greater worked even harder to make something (the Internet) free to all.

      Accumulating wealth may – often does – have more to do with ruthlessness, power and greed than knowledge, hard work and skill (in something other than making money.)

  76. 82 anne in vancouver wa
    March 11, 2010 at 19:49

    Is ayn rand on this show? Miami has some rabid capitalists, possibly due to Cuban influence.

  77. 83 Tom D Ford
    March 11, 2010 at 19:50

    Ros, I get the idea that the students around you are just incredibly rich spoiled brats of privilege. They have been indoctrinated all their lives that they have some sort of “Divine Right” to have inherited wealth and the idea of “Noblesse Oblige”, to give out mere pittances of what they took from the lower classes, as “Charity”, to make themselves look like admirable people.

  78. 84 tekkoo
    March 11, 2010 at 19:50

    Money and knowledge (success) has no limit, and both are geared together. Carlos Slim, Bill Gate and all the others will keep making money to no end. Just wonder if any of us would refuse an opportunity to celebrate such success, fame and richness.

  79. 85 jesse
    March 11, 2010 at 19:50

    No!because they don’t care about the poor,they are oppressors ever ready to suppress the less privileged.how can i be proud of such?

  80. 86 Tom D Ford
    March 11, 2010 at 19:55

    If the wealthy took less there would be fewer poor people.

  81. 87 Mohamed Muse
    March 11, 2010 at 19:55

    How could I be proud of my country’s richest people at a time they are investing those who are against the govt.?

  82. 88 Gloria in Oregon
    March 11, 2010 at 19:56

    As regards Mr. Bill Gates becoming a mega-wealthy billionaire, good for him. How wonderful he focused his mental /intellectual talents to the field of computer technology. His efforts have, beyond description, benefitted the planet profoundly, and he deserves the financial riches he has reaped. (Then again, all of us hard-workers deserve bushels of money, too, but….)

    I respect Mr. Gates, and his wife tremendously for their compassionate humanitarian endeavors. (They are definitely not selfish with their money.)

    However, am I PROUD of Bill Gates? No. Why should I be? I mean, I am not his mother, sister, daughter, wife. They, most surely, I would think, are proud of him.

    I do send Bill Gates (and team) a huge Thank You, though. Because of his genius brain and tireless hard work to create the ‘toys’ he has invented, my life is fuller and more interesting.

    Keep up the good work, Bill. (Steve Jobs will, too.)

  83. 89 Barbara
    March 11, 2010 at 19:57

    There is something to be said for having “enough”.
    Yes, I believe in giving back – even on my fixed retirement income.
    Having enough — enough of everything — food, shelter, clothes and even perks and even luxuries — but one should have a threshold above which one gives back to causes and activities that the individual suports in his or her hearts.

  84. 90 tom
    March 11, 2010 at 19:58

    I think some of your guests are conflating wealth creation with added social benefit. It would be hard to say that a individuals wealth is directly related to their contribution to society. A. Carnnegie started his philanthropic org as a tax sheild. Sometimes incentivising giving is not viewed as tax because it is not punative but the effect is much the same.

  85. 91 mers in oregon
    March 11, 2010 at 20:01

    As consumers we make the rich rich. We choose to use our hard-earned money to buy the products and services that they (the rich) are offering (whether it be electronics or access to telecommunications), ensuring their success.

  86. 92 Don Hawkins
    March 11, 2010 at 20:03

    I read an article in which the author admits that “capitalism promotes inequality of outcomes”. He says, “This is true, but the inequality is based on the principle of justice: each person gets what he earns”.

    I believe most people would scoff at this generalization; most would agree that there is a vast difference between “making” a million dollars and “earning” a million dollars. I become incensed at the idea that business owners, industry magnates, corporate bankers, real estate speculators and attorneys (to name a few) “earn” their often tremendous salaries; in many cases the salaries reflect what their narrowly defined and specialized markets will bear. The wealth within those markets didn’t come from those markets; rather it was transferred there through mechanisms (often and ironically, government mechanisms) designed to funnel huge amounts of wealth from one area of the economy to another one. These mechanisms are usually controlled by a disproportionate few.

    Ayn Rand held that you don’t have to be an altruist to accept a moral obligation to the society you live in. Any thoughtful egoist understands that it IS in their own self interest not to sit down at the table and take more than they need for themselves. Unfortunately, there are a huge amount of these people in my country who will do just that. They sit down to the table and take more than they need, without any concern for the long term sustainability of their actions.

  87. 93 Chris
    March 11, 2010 at 20:12

    I’m educated and feel I have fewer and fewer opportunities for better paying jobs. I’d like to get even a cheap house but can’t afford the mortgage. Why should I be proud of those with extreme wealth when I work hard, too?

  88. 94 Derek in California
    March 11, 2010 at 20:13

    Those that are defending the rich as justified and deserving of their wealth are just trying to pray at the right altar- the one of wealth and privelege- so that they may have their shot. Here in the United States, we see the American Dream told to us over and over again, and no one wants to admit that the majority of the wealthy came from privelege, leave from privelege, and pass that privelege on. Even further they consolidate their power further with a corrupt govt. taking campaign contributions and lobby money.

    How is someone who works in a factory for 80 hours different from the Wall Street worker who works the same, hmmm? One invariably had access to better education and a class of people and connections to get where he or she is at.

    Laziness or hard work is rarely the main factor, it is PRIVELEGE. People are betraying themselves and their peers by worshipping rich people.

  89. 95 Jennifer
    March 11, 2010 at 20:13

    I’m proud of several local families that give back a tremendous amount to our community in Indianapolis.

    However, listening to this program today some of the people on the panel said that they earned their money it’s their’s etc. Well of course it is their money, but I must say that it is incredibly immoral to not want to use as much money as possible to help the weak and suffering of this world. I’m proud and thankful for the people who do and ashamed of those who don’t.

  90. 96 Elizabeth
    March 11, 2010 at 20:26

    I taught the children of the rich and successful for many years and I think you have a fair sample at Miami. They fell into 3 categories: children destroyed by neglect and unable to meet expectations; children who saw success as money and entered occupations where money-making was the aim; finally children of successful parents, not necessarily very wealthy, who entered similar professions or other areas of work as their parents, often those that contributed to society such as medicine, teaching etc, where they earned well, but not an exaggeration. They pay their taxes, live good lives and in general contribute to society. There is no doubt from my observations over the years which of these categories are the happiest and most successful in terms of their lives and relationships.

  91. 97 Tom D Ford
    March 11, 2010 at 20:36

    As I listened to the students arguments that the wealthy are admirable because they are greedy and give back a little of what they take, I thought of a two or three year old child who has got caught with her hands in the familys’ emptied cookie jar and crumbs all over her face, offering to give back the crumbs left in her hands.

    Good parents don’t allow their three year old to behave like that, and I ask why We, the Human Family, should allow that behavior of our similarly greedy rich people?

    In a Democracy, we ought to limit the greed and power of a few to the detriment of the many.

  92. 98 Cabe UK
    March 11, 2010 at 22:24

    Yeah – why not? The UK doesn’t have many!! People like Sir Richard Branson made his money not because he opened a ‘Virgin’ record shop on the Portobello Road, but because he was a clever man! I applaud enterprise and if you attract money then good for you!
    Get real all of you !…Its seems the norm to demonise billionaires yet most people go off and do the lottery every week !! – If you won a billion tomorrow would you go give it ALL away to the poor because you hated what a billionaire stands for??? – Yeah right – fat chance!! Not all billionaires are ‘bad’ – they are there because common people like you and me wanted their services one way or another so we paid for them to be rich – but we also got something in return. Don’t forget you only hear about all the rubbish ‘celebrity’ and notorious billionaires because they either want to be or get caught up in the news ….. – the really Really ‘Rich’ majority live in obscurity and only come to light because someone somewhere does “a richest man in the world” census. Bet you never even heard about him before yet suddenly you all assume he’s got there on the bones of your relatives ?

  93. 99 Casuri from Pakistan
    March 11, 2010 at 22:55

    No, I am not proud when they have looted the country, plundered and raped it and deposited their ill gotten gains in off shore accounts. They are our prime ministers,presidents and politicians. One of them was the darling of the West BB. These tax havens in places like Switzerland should open these accounts for public scrutiny and return our money to us. My country’s poorest deserve to have access to the basic necessities which these politicians just talk about as election promises but never deliver on. No I am not proud of them I am ashamed that these leeches are my compatriots.

  94. March 12, 2010 at 02:42

    I agree with the comments of Marija Liudvika Rutkauskaite, Peter in Jamiaca, and Tara in Florida, USA. I think it’s good if the rich help the poor with their wealth – but I think it’s obscene the wealth that some people have; especially when the poor of their country eg. Mexico, Thailand ect. are living on rubbish dumps, and some children being worked in terrible conditions. There will always be rich people – but it’s what they do with it their weath that counts. You sometimes hear wonderful stories of how some rich person helped thousands of people – but they are rare. Most give a little just to get tax advantage.

  95. March 12, 2010 at 08:18

    Last year, Nigeria’s biggest debtors were named and shamed and on the list were men and women who have come to be the richest in the land. Whether we like it or not, the richest people in our countries have at one time or the other been involved in fraudulent activities. I do not envy them neither am i proud of them.

  96. 102 Halima
    March 12, 2010 at 08:22

    I do not believe that anybody can be a multi-billionaire without he/she or his/her business having done some harm. I think someone can be rich and honorable, but not “filthy” rich. I am suspect. Bill Gates made a monopoly and worked hard to prevent other contenders from competing. He also made billions on a system others were and still are trying to make free. The fact that the Internet is free is due to even more honorable men than Bill Gates. However Bill Gates is maybe one of the least obnoxious rich people. I am deeply suspicious of billionaires. What was the cost to the environment, small businesses, freedom, availability of infrastructure to all which produced such riches for an individual? Especially in countries where the gap between the richest and the poorest is the greatest. Something is wrong somewhere. That is not to say it is wrong to be rich – indeed there will always be successful and less successful people, but those very very rich, I always suspect them.

  97. 103 Sergio Joaquim Dique
    March 12, 2010 at 08:37


    A guy puts his medulla at work, makes a billionaire out of himself, and we ask weather we should or not be proud of them? So what are we trying to say? Lets all just make the bare minimum and if everyone else is happy, then we are ok?

    Come on people. This question most probably came from someone, either just lazy, and does not want to earn their living. If they were rich, would they be asking such a question.

    Hail the rich and let them be. l wanna be one in a few years and let me be, THEN.

  98. 104 Ronald Almeida
    March 12, 2010 at 09:32

    It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle.

  99. 105 Amara in Nigeria
    March 12, 2010 at 10:29

    Wealthy people who genuinely made their wealth should be respected,but being proud of them,that’s for few who really use their opulent riches to better the lives of others.Majority of them are greedy and insensitive to the plight of their fellow country men.Why should i be proud of such people who have their money stocked out in Swiss banks while majority barely afford three-square meal.In the midst of all these, i believe we all shall die someday including these selfish billionaires,and if this is the fate that will some day befall them, why not do good.No need to cherish luxury because everything come and go even the life you have is borrowed because you don’t know what will happen tomorrow.

  100. 106 Cabe UK
    March 12, 2010 at 13:52

    @Derek in California – no one is ‘worshipping the rich’ here Derek! I am proud of our UK Billionaire Sir Richard Branson that’s all. He’s not a despot, or traffik in guns, drugs, organs or slaves…hasn’t overthrown our Government ( but maybe he should?) and is exemely generous / charitable both to his staff and the rest of the world! Maybe we are just luckier to have such a quality ‘billionaire’ here?
    = I agree that dictator despots and those who literally walk on the bones of their people should be shot and their wealth returned to the poor…
    But everyone here thinks all rich people’s money is unfair? Worshopping at the “alter of the rich” cuts both ways – you either worship at it or burn the alter – either way, you are focussing on their money because you don’t have it.
    Everyone want’s them to subsidise the poor of the world? – Yet, if you downscale that ‘subsidy’ and bring it right down to the ‘common’ persons earning level you’ll find the ‘common’ person doesn’t subsidise the poor of the world either so it’s all relative!
    Fairness in the Universe is never going to happen – its all Karmic anyway! BUT – nothing is stopping a whole population from having a revolution if they are unhappy? Nothing is stopping an individual from bettering or reinventing themselves if they are poor etc, etc…. If someone works 80 hrs a week and complains they have the same capability as a Wall St. hacker they why Aren’t they actually ON Wall St earning that money then? 🙂

  101. 107 olawale Amao
    March 12, 2010 at 14:31

    I will only be proud of the richest people in Nigeria if they stop using their money to cause chaos in Jos and also not oppress others.they should think of giving the less privileged something to smile about.talk of scholarship,etc.

  102. March 12, 2010 at 14:52

    If Mr. Gates goes down to the local supermarket near closing time, they quite often have bread and cakes reduced so that they can sell them before they are too stale. Likewise, you can buy dented tins of beans etc. from supermarkets or street markets. You can get clothes from charity shops (looks like he’s ahead of me on this one), and local greengrocers can sell fruit and vegetables much more cheaply than large supermarkets. If he scrimps and saves, I believe it should still be possible to live on only $31.5 Billion per year.

  103. March 12, 2010 at 15:09

    Riches that one may have if goes on his or her personal use only, seldom for humanitarian causes, are meaningless for the rest of local and global people.

  104. 110 Kathie Daniel
    March 12, 2010 at 16:12

    There is nothing wrong with being rich per se, as money is just another resource or tool. Somewhere along the line, we have picked up a very strange attitude towards money/wealth, equating it with evil somehow. There is a huge difference between a person like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs and a drug dealer or corporate crooks!
    I think the people who have an active conscience will always use their resources, including money, to help make the world a better place. The Kennedy clan, Oprah Winfrey, Messrs. Gates and Jobs, and several others make large donations to charity and use their influence in myriad ways to make a positive difference. Kudos to them! Let’s not be naive either about what a million dollars can do. In Barbados, a million US will get you a really nice house and a decent car, but then you have to maintain them… A BMW in Barbados can cost you a HUNDRED THOUSAND BARBADOS dollars, or US$50,000.
    But it’s not about the money – it’s what you do with it….. Gold plated bathtubs or setting up food banks? There is a big difference…

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