Like many of you, I really get into TED talks – the series of brief videos that run the gamut of everything we find interesting in this world. And more and more of these talks have been centering on the idea of income inequality and its effects on nations around the world. It’s the old argument about the 1% and the rest, but with an increasing number of economists and researchers weighing in on how it destroys our capacity to grow and respond as citizens, companies, and nations.
Venture capitalist and millionaire entrepreneur, Nick Hanauer, wrote an op-ed for Bloomberg News that went hyper-viral. It talked about how it’s not the wealthy that create jobs and prosperity but the delicate link between companies and their customers. In other words, wealth is created through the symbiotic relationship between both these groups. It created a sensation, and so the organizers of TED Talks asked him to make a presentation at one of their conferences. He agreed and you can see the result by playing the video above. It’s only five minutes long but its impact has left a longer trail.
Hanauer’s presentation gained immediate popularity, bringing out the instinct, which millions share, that something is not right in our economic models. But the video also brought on an increasing amount of detractors – primarily those of the 1% who didn’t like this exposure by one of their own. The result? TED Talks pulled the video. Fortunately it’s still on YouTube.
Why was the video pulled? Good question. The official explanation was that it was too partisan, but some feel the elite put enough pressure on the organizers to get the video yanked. Whatever the reason, it’s compelling stuff and belongs as part of the growing debate on income inequality and its steadily eroding effects on modern economies. Hanauer’s belief that it’s actually the middle-class that creates wealth and jobs completely opposes the current paradigm, which maintains that it is the top-tier of wealth owners who make all the difference. Regardless of whether you fully agree or not, it’s compelling stuff, well worth your attention and, hopefully, engagement. It’s time to start fighting back, as only committed citizens in a free and democratic society can do.