Capitalism and conspiracies Our readers air their views
The intensifying concentration of the wealth of the world’s super-rich is not so much a return to the US Gilded Age of the turn of the 20th century as it is the emergence of a global Cancerous Age of 21st-century capitalism (World’s super-rich are now worth $6tn, 3 November).
The cancerous dynamic is evident in a number of ways:
The inherent need for unending economic growth is increasingly outgrowing ecological constraints.
The relatively secure jobs in manufacturing associated with the Gilded Age that helped to create the so-called middle-class are being destroyed and either not replaced or replaced by insecure and lowerpaid jobs, as well as by an increasing number of the working poor.
The now dominant role of financial capital in the global economy ensures that the ever-increasing growth in debt – along with the volatility of movements of capital – is the new, uncontrollable normal.
The growth of inequalities between nations shows no sign of slowing down, and is intensifying.
Just as a cancer in the body involves the destructive growth of tumours, so capitalism exhibits the same uncontrollable symptoms. It will take more than a rerun of a Roosevelt New Deal or a Beveridge welfare state to change this reality. It will take the economic, social and cultural equivalents of the surgery, radiology and chemotherapy used to deal with bodily cancers. Even then, of course, success is not guaranteed. Stewart Sweeney Adelaide, South Australia
• The philanthropic gifts made by the super-rich seem to be directed at things that enrich their own lives. Art galleries, sports teams. No mention of housing for homeless people, donations to women’s refuges or support for school lunch programmes in poor neighbourhoods. It seems that what counts as philanthropy when you’re a billionaire is getting “stars, sheikhs … all in the same room talking about the ball” – spending their vast wealth on their own fun. Susan Grimsdell Auckland, New Zealand