Tag: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

It’s Not the Money Asymmetry, It’s the Power Asymmetry

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez notes what should be obvious, that the problem with inequality in our society is not the money, it’s the power:

On Monday morning, Jeff Bezos announced the creation of a new $10 billion environmental foundation, the Bezos Earth Fund. This is on top of the $2 billion he already committed to the Bezos Family Foundation to build preschools and fight homelessness.

The combined sum might be a fraction of his net worth, and Bezos might have a history of standing in the way of political efforts to address some of the same problems he seeks to address with his charity. Even so, many would argue that his efforts are still praiseworthy.

In a Martin Luther King Jr Day discussion with Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argued for a very different perspective. If Jeff Bezos “wants to be a good person,” she said, he should “turn Amazon into a worker cooperative.” She argued that our primary message to billionaires shouldn’t be that we want to redistribute their money. Instead, it should be that “we want their power.”

In making this distinction, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez was giving voice to an idea with deep roots in socialist thought — that the unequal distribution of wealth is just a symptom of the deeper problem of the unequal distribution of economic power.

Inequality is a self-reinforcing phenomenon.

As inequality increases, the powerful are increasingly in the position of stacking the deck in their own favor.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Point, AOC

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez once again completely owns someone who tries to shame her by claiming that after going after unethical banksters, she will go after hard working bartenders.

It turns out that this is already the law of the land:

Actually, in NYC if you’re a bartender and knowingly over-serve to someone, you *ARE* liable for things they do after they leave the bar, because you knowingly put them at risk for $.

Its called the Dram Shop Act. It’s a big reason why bartenders cut people off. And it works. https://t.co/u2XMRuNOyb

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 12, 2019

It’s a legitimate question: Why is a bartender held to a higher liability for their work than the head of Wells-Fargo?

As Henry Farrell observes, this is a strength of AOC, that her, “Retorical style is that it often starts from the fact that non-professional classes know stuff and then builds up – a strong implicit contrast both to common liberal condescension and conservative cult of know-nothing-ism.”

I so want to vote for her to be President in 2024.