In this new TEDx Talk, Chuck Collins, heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune invites the planet’s wealthy to “come home” – not withdraw – and humbly invest in building resilient and healthy communities. He urges his fellow wealthy to join networks like the Patriotic Millionaires to advocate for tax fairness, living wages and a campaign finance system that reduces the influence of big money and politics.
Collins believes the extreme inequality of wealth and the climate crisis have brought us to a critical juncture. “The ecological catastrophe at our door will destroy the real foundations of wealth—our ecological wealth. Extreme wealth inequality undermines the quality of life for everyone, including the wealthy.”
His invitation: Come Home. Do not retreat to enclaves of protected privilege. Do not disconnect or withdraw from humanity at this critical moment in history.
Bring your wealth home. The wealthy control vast amounts of capital. Take it out of the Wall Street casino. Stop chasing speculative financial returns around the planet. Bring home the estimated $7.6 trillion hiding in off-shore tax havens.
Divest and Invest. Move your money out of the old fossil fuel carbon burning economy – and redirect it to renewable energy and the real economy. This new economy is emerging all around us: local and regional food systems, green energy and infrastructure, small businesses creating wealth and livelihoods.
Pay your fair share of taxes so that the next generation can have the same opportunities you had, provided by public investments in education, research, and infrastructure.
Proceed with humility, anonymously, and without publicity or fanfare.The wealthy are not super-heroes. But given the concentration of wealth and power, they have a role to play.
Chuck Collins is co-founder of the Wealth for the Common Good network that merged with the Patriotic Millionaires in early 2015. He is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he coordinates the Program on Inequality and the Common Good (see www.inequality.org). The talk was taped in October 2015 at TEDx Jamaica Plain.