The Economy as a Bar at Closing Time

Hopefully you’ve heard about the Panama Papers. If not, go check that shit out. I’ll wait.

Back? Ok. So. Are you old enough to remember going to the bar? If not this might not make much sense to you.

At the end of the night – sometimes closer to the beginning of the night, actually – there’s this guy:

We call this guy “way too drunk guy”. He’s had a lot to drink. He’s had what he believes is the best possible night. Every time he wakes up again, he asks for another drink.

The thing is, that’s billionaires, too. They have more money than they know what to do with. The Panama Papers kind of make that point with abandon. These folks are not twisting the night away for charity; they’re squirrelling away their ill-or-otherwise-gotten gains because that’s how they keep score. And so they forget that that money is meant to serve a purpose, not to serve their stupid, dead-end bank accounts.

They’re the end-of-the-night drunks of the economy, and we already have a solution for this problem: Cut them off. You cannot have more than ten million dollars. And you can’t drive after you’ve had it; we need to disallow a lot of activities (most forms of political leadership, for example) to those who obviously have a looting problem.

Trillions of dollars have been looted by men and women who play a game instead of trying to use their positions constructively. Billions of human lives, and innumerable life forms on this lovely little globe of ours, rely on the assumption that we’re not going to let drunk assholes steer civilization.

So let’s get on that.