On Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 9:31 PM, Paul Tanner <upprho@gmail.com> wrote:

But there is truth there. There is a number of very rich and very
powerful people who by definition are part of the top 1% in the income
distribution - this includes for instance some of those who run the
big banks - have through massive amounts of money spent on lobbying
and other means have "bought" a large part - if not a majority - of
the US Congress. That is, to say that they own the government is
rhetoric that is not too far from the truth that their influence over
government is very, very, very, very, very out of proportion to their
numbers. (I do not see why you think that this is OK if you think that
this is OK - and you speak as if you think that it is OK.)

I don't think it's OK to be ridiculously sloppy in one's thinking.  

People say "rich and powerful" as if these were synonyms and further there's the implication that "not rich" means "not powerful" i.e. "if and only if rich, then powerful".  

I think as math-focused people with some respect for logic, we should not traffic in such slovenly thinking.  One may be rich and not particularly influential, influential and not rich, influential and then rich, rich and then influential etc. etc.

Does this mean I'm denying the existence of rich and powerful (influential) people?  Not at all.

What I notice about a lot of people is they swill in victimhood saying to themselves "I'm not rich and therefore not powerful and therefore it's not my problem or concern how the world is going -- other people are to blame for everything that's bad about the world".

A lot of rich folks are so bogged down managing their portfolios and looking after their assets that they really have no time to focus on policy, public affairs, or whatever.  People with little money and not much to lose may be able to devote themselves to various forms of activistism quasi full time.

Of all the Nobel Prizes given out in the last 100 years, how many went to people who had been millionaires and billionaires?