Related to Sean’s post, but written to the thread at large
I’ve been kicking ideas like this around for a while now, and it finally seems to have come together. If anybody likes the concept, and has ideas for how to improve it, make it more specific, make it more practical, and/or possible - don’t be shy!
Firstly, it’s necessary to lay out the general psychological framework, followed by more concrete explanations…
This correlation of celebrity social activist(Brand), combined with the dynastic inheritance type activism(Jemima) gives me some ideas. We know that other-directed people worship celebrity. One of the ways in which celebrities attempt to increase their status is by creating an image of themselves as being involved with activism, or philanthropy. With mass-media, the wealthy dynastic elites, are more and more concerned with how they look to the public, and many become celebrities themselves. Mass society is highly responsive to their output and opinions on social issues.
Celebrity is the art of the persona, and how one appears, and not necessarily linked with the truth, and perhaps is quite often as far away from it as possible. Celebrity-driven narcissism, and elite posturing can be linked to the truth, and in fact, they have now - through their own devising - set the precedent…
One such precedent is “The Giving Pledge”: http://givingpledge.org/
Here, the elites ‘pledge’ whatever portions of their wealth that they decide on, and to organizations of their own choosing. In the USA, these donations can often be written off (in large part) in their taxes. Even worse, is that the money can be donated to their own family foundations. Lastly, it also enables the elites to be choosing in what ways money is being allocated and to where. They bypass the state, retain, and are perhaps even consolidating their power through such measures. The “Giving Pledge” is also not a legal document. Whatever positives that the elites’ philanthropy might have, these elements must be kept in mind.
On the positive side, the Giving Pledge precedent can be used to create an authentic ‘pledging’ fund targeting celebrities, and the super-rich as a moral imperative, which is how they frame it currently. Their website is so bloody simple, that surely an alternative can and should be created. The main difference in the alternative, would be the following:
- Each celebrity/elite who wishes to sign-up, would actually have to sign a legal document.
- The body receiving the funds should be State-affiliated.
- A certain portion of the funds received would be allocated to setting up and establishing a complete public transparency committee to ensure how the funds are being spent, and to prevent corruption.
-The body who allocates the funds will be comprised of experts in their fields, ie the beginnings of a Meritocratic branch of government. It should also be not-for-profit.
- Initially the ‘causes’ that the funds contribute towards could vary from country to country, but specific widespread issues (depending precisely on their current pressing needs) should be strictly laid out to garner authentic public support and pressure. Some obvious ways are: cancellation of student debts, national debts, and all austerity measures. After the essential areas are addressed, the fund could expand it’s initiatives.
The essence of what I am suggesting is to appropriate the media-based precedent set forth by the elites through the ‘Giving Pledge’, and the narcissism, and influence of celebrity culture on popular thinking.
Effectively, this idea is intended to create and establish a Meritocratic branch of the government and to bypass the sham of the current elite driven ‘democratic’ process, and philanthropic posturing (and potentially deepening of current power consolidation).
Thesis: The State directly receiving money(which the elites bypass) through an inheritance tax.
Anti-Thesis: The elites setting up philanthropic foundations ie The Giving Pledge, and maintain their established rulership and influence as a coalescing community, bypassing the States inheritance taxes, and the system in general. Not legally bound.
Synthesis: A legally bound pledge made to an organization which is State-affiliated, with the funds initially going directly to that country’s most pressing social needs determined by a not-for-profit, Meritocratic, and completely transparent body, funded by the pledges.
The Fund could be labelled “The Carnegie Pledge”, and an initial slogan could be "the man who dies rich, dies disgraced". - Carnegie. Another could be, putting people before profit, or debt cancellation before inheritance.