November 3, 2009
Only the rich? A book about billionaires giving their time and money to charity? From “America’s first citizen”? Has Ralph Nader lost his faith in grassroots organizing and activism?
Not at all, the perennial third-party presidential candidate replied. Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us is a utopian fantasy, not an ideological surrender. Its characters are real-life people (usually billionaires) like Warren Buffett, Bill Cosby, George Soros, Yoko Ono and Ted Turner, who are powerful enough to enact large-scale social change. Nader imagines them acting on behalf of the American people, and wonders what would happen if society’s wealthiest were “not just interested in charity, but real change.”
It is, in essence, Nader’s dream. . . [and] Nader suggests there’s no reason it can’t happen again. “If we stereotype the super-rich 100 percent,” he said, “we’re missing out on some who are as enlightened as we think we are.”
This process of aligning the wealthy with the grassroots causes they support is how Nader came to speak at the event. It was organized in part by an organization called Wealth For The Common Good, which works with “wealthy individuals…to promote shared prosperity and fair taxation.”
So there is realistic grounding for Nader’s fantastic visionary novel. And that’s as good a place to start as any.