“The Attack Against The Rich Has Begun,” Wealth Author Warns

"Screw the wealthy and the migrants" is written on the facade of a Dior shop in Paris during the Yellow Vest (Gilets Jaunes) demonstrations in December 2018. (GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images)

Academic and author Rainer Zitelmann has reason to worry. In writing his latest book, The Power of Capitalism: A Journey Through Recent History Across Five Continents, he has witnessed a growth of socialism and anti-capitalism throughout the world.

More worryingly, he says, these movements have taken an anti-rich stance. “I think we have now worldwide an attack on the rich and an attack on capitalism,” Zitelmann says in conversation over his new book.

Examples of this “attack” are commonplace in the countries Zitelmann has studied: Proposals for a wealth tax in the U.S. from Senator Elizabeth Warren and in the U.K. from the Labour Party.

Nor is this war on wealth about political views from the left or the right, he warns: “In France, you have a socialist and anti-capitalist movement. Even the right-wing people there are socialist”.

In December, France’s Yellow Vest (Gilets Jaunes) movement labeled president Emmanuel Macron “president of the rich”, as they torched luxury cars and shops on the Champs-Élysées.

Then, when France’s billionaires donated their millions to re-build Notre Dame, the same movement criticized them for not donating to other causes.

A protester holds a placard reading in French "Notre-Dame (of Paris) = one million euros, Burn out at hospitals = zero euro" during a demonstration called by the Yellow Vest (Gilets Jaunes) (NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/GettyImages)

A protester holds a placard reading in French “Notre-Dame (of Paris) = one million euros, Burn out at hospitals = zero euro” during a demonstration called by the Yellow Vest (Gilets Jaunes) (NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/GettyImages)


“We have a stronger socialist movement than we had before,” Zitelmann says.

“Would Tony Blair be elected in the Labour Party today? I don’t think so. And Gerhard Schroder, who made these economic reforms [in Germany], would he be elected? No. Do you think Bill Clinton would be elected in the Democratic Party today?

An elderly woman walks past Prada in Hong Kong (PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/GettyImages)

An elderly woman walks past Prada in Hong Kong (PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/GettyImages)


The Front Lines Are Drawn

Whatever your political viewpoint, it is not impossible to see why somebody might be anti-rich.

Global inequality has grown since the financial recession in 2008. According to a report by Credit Suisse last year, the top 1 percent of global wealth holders held 42.6 percent of all household wealth in 2008. This rose up to 47.2 percent in mid-2018.

While Zitelmann agrees with parallels drawn with 2008, he says the rich are not the ones to blame for the worldwide recession: “I criticize the policy of the central banks especially the European Central Bank”.

In the witchhunt for somebody to blame, however, the finger was pointed at the wealthy. “This is what happens always in history where there are bad things happening and they are hard to understand: They look for scapegoats”, Zitelmann asserts.

“This is what they criticize – the gap between the poor and the rich. But I think that’s the wrong question. I’m concerned about the poverty in the world and not relative to the divide between the rich and the poor.”

How The Rich Should React

What happens if you run a successful business: You have played by the rules, struck lucky perhaps, and made a lot of money in the process. How do you react to this public backlash against your bank balance?

Many are keeping a low profile. A growing number of wealthy are curbing their ostentation. The rich today try not to look rich, let alone talk about it.

An example emerged in Zitelmann’s home country of Germany last year. Thenon-executive chairman of BlackRock in Germany, Friedrich Merz, ran to succeed Angela Merkel as leader of the ruling Christian Democratic Party (CDU).

Merz’s wealth quickly became the headline, however. “I’m upper middle class”, said Merz in an effort to deflect criticism of his privilege, which included ownership of two private jets.

Friedrich Merz, former candidate for the CDU party leadership (Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Friedrich Merz, former candidate for the CDU party leadership (Maja Hitij/Getty Images)


The debate over his wealth grew as Merz first denied and then accepted that he was a millionaire.

“This is crazy,” comments Zitelmann. The rich should not be apologetic, he believes. “They should stop being defensive and start to explain why rich people are good for society and not bad for society.

“For me its the wake-up call for rich people.”

I write about the vast fortunes of Europe’s wealthy amidst the continent’s political ups and downs. I cover where their money ends up:

Source: “The Attack Against The Rich Has Begun,” Wealth Author Warns

Twitter Rolls Out Part Two of Its Ad Transparency Initiative – Genevieve Dietz


Transparency in the Wake of Election Troubles

Twitter is doing its part to combat fake news and foreign election meddling by rolling out phase two of its plan for transparency surrounding political ad campaigns.

There’s a lot hanging on this year’s midterm election and social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are doing everything they can to ensure political advertising is honest, transparent, and fair.

A few months back, Twitter introduced its transparency initiative partly as a way to give users insights into the origins of political ads and mostly as a way to make all ads more traceable.

This initiative was announced almost simultaneously with Facebook’s new ad transparency features, proving that both companies are serious about avoiding trouble this Fall. (more on that here)

Phase Two Features

As of now, anyone, even those without Twitter accounts, can use the platform’s Ad Transparency Center (a searchable database released October 2017) to search for ads displayed on Twitter within the last seven days.

The Ad Transparency Center features ads promoted by US and global advertisers. Currently, the only political ads that are searchable are those related to US elections.

This may change in the coming months but Twitter has stated that they will need to do more research on the matter before they can extend the feature to non-U.S. elections. The Twitter advertising blog states:

“We are examining how to adapt and internationalize both political campaigning and issue ads policies. We are doing our due diligence to get this right and will have more updates to come.”

For advertisers promoting Twitter approved US political ads, the Ad Transparency Center will break down billing information, ad spend, impression data per tweet and demographic targeting data for them.

These new capabilities expand on several others announced on May 30. As part of the first initiative rollouts, Twitter started adding badges and disclaimers to all political campaign ads and accounts running political ads were required to to certify that they lived in the United States.

Accounts also had to have a profile picture and a link in the bio section that provided accurate contact information. Twitter also banned foreign nationals from targeting political campaign ads to people in the U.S.

Final Thoughts

Online security has been at the top of everyone’s minds this year. Cambridge Analytica and election interference has social media users freaked and they, as well as the government, have been putting intense pressure on social media networks to get real about transparency and how they handle user data.

Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, have answered the call eagerly and have started rolling out several new ad policies and transparency tools for marketers and users.

Some of these updated policies have caught marketers in a bit of a whirlwind. It can be difficult to maintain the same content strategies when social media advertising as we know it continues to evolve and adapt. However, these new policies could be a blessing in disguise.

Marketers will have to work harder to make their content more authentic or Facebook and Twitter will literally put an end to their ad plans.

Content should always be engaging, credible, and honest so maybe these new ad policies are the push some brands need to finally get serious about reinventing their content marketing strategies for hyper-aware audiences.

Your kindly Donations would be so effective in order to fulfill our future research and endeavors – Thank you

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar