I’ve always wanted to write a fund-raising appeal that starts with that question. You have money. We need money. Give it to us.
What this lacks in subtlety it makes up in reality: rich people have more of the very thing you need than unrich people do. So if you can focus on them, chances are……well, actually, that’s not true. Countless studies point to rich people being less charitable than middle-class or lower-middle-class people.
But that may be changing, not by revolution in the streets, but by revolution from within.
I stumbled across a Canadian non-profit called Resource Movement. It’s “a community of young people with wealth and/or class privilege working toward the redistribution of wealth, land, and power.”
So far, 200 of these young rich Canadians have self-organized, not to flagellate themselves about their state, but to use it to make the effects of income inequality a bit less dire. Their site has a handy tool provided by StatsCanada, no less, to calculate your Income Percentile. If you think you’re moderately well-off, you’re in for a big surprise. You’re extraordinarily well off. Make $100,000 a year and you’re in the 96th percentile of Canadians. You are one of the 4 per cent.
The rich kids I knew growing up were either entitled beyond belief that they’d won the genetic lottery, or hid their good luck like a shameful illness.
But these kids are different.
You can see it more clearly with their colleagues, American Generation, which spawned the Canadian branch plant two years ago. Everything about them is pushier, more in-your-face. More American I guess. “Got class privilege and want social justice?”
They even have a Class Privilege Quiz which includes such points as “You own clothing from Arc’teryx” “You can afford to go to a therapist,” and “You’re preparing for the apocalypse.” I encourage you to take it if only because it might embarrass you as much as it did me.
The shift from living a life of success to one of consequence was in the ether long before the pandemic hit. After it leaves, I think conspicuous consumption will be as acceptable as conspicuous workaholism. Those who have done well will rush not just to be seen to do good, but to actually do good, better.
It’s not quite the Czar’s children rising up against their father at home in the Winter Palace in 1917. But rich kids taking to the barricades — as an organized group — to rebel against the values that their families led in driving the world to the parlous place it is today…….well, that is a revolution of a different order.