News / USA

Super Rich Take on Super-Hero Role in Nader's Utopia

America's billionaires motivate the masses to achieve social justice in consumer activist's first novel

Consumer activist Ralph Nader's first novel offers up a scenario where the  wealthiest people try to save the world.
Consumer activist Ralph Nader's first novel offers up a scenario where the wealthiest people try to save the world.

Related Articles

Multimedia

Audio
Faiza Elmasry

Some of the richest Americans are using their wealth for the common good. Businessman and investor Warren Buffett, Microsoft's founder Bill Gates and financier George Soros are just a few of the billionaires who have dedicated much of their fortune to improving society. In his first novel, Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us, consumer activist Ralph Nader imagines how much more they could do.

Drawing characters from real life

The novel opens in January 2006, not long after a string of disasters. Hurricane Katrina has battered the U.S. Gulf Coast, a massive quake has killed tens of thousands in Pakistan and deadly bird flu has begun to infect people.  Warren Buffett has invited 16 of his fellow billionaires to a meeting in Hawaii.

"I use 17 very rich, enlightened, older Americans in fictional roles," Nader says. "A good many of them I've known over the years and so I extend some of the good things they have done in their life to a much, much higher level," he says.

In Nader's fictional world, the group of billionaires develops a strategy to put the world back on track while improving the lives of those living in poverty.
In Nader's fictional world, the group of billionaires develops a strategy to put the world back on track while improving the lives of those living in poverty.

In a passage from the book, Nader has Buffett start the meeting by highlighting the most pressing issues of our time:

"My friends, what brings us here is a common foreboding- a closing circle of global doom. The world is not doing well. It is spinning out of control. Its inhabitants have allowed greed, power, ignorance, wealth, science, technology and religion to depreciate reality and deny potential. With our capitalist backgrounds, it's easy for us not to be beguiled by the plutocracy's self-serving manipulation of economic indicators. We know how wealth is being accumulated, defined, concentrated, and stratified. Why, four hundred and fifty of us have the wealth equivalent to the combined wealth of the bottom three billion impoverished people on earth."

'Ten pillars of re-direction'

In Nader's fictional world, the group of media moguls, Wall Street tycoons, Internet executives and corporate leaders come up with a strategy to put the world back on track while improving the lives of those living in poverty and ignorance. They sum up their plan of action in what Ralph Nader calls '10 pillars of re-direction.'

"The first pillar, the first stage improvements, deals with economic inequality. That's health care, renewable energy, adequate food - there are a lot of hungry children in the United States - and adequate housing. The second redirection is take back control of the Congress from the commercial interests and the corporate lobbyists who swarm over the House and the Senate. The third is electoral reform, to have cleaner politics and more candidates on the ballots to give voters more choice. The fourth is to try to do things with the well-being of posterity in their mind," Nader says.

In Nader style, characters form a political party

Other goals include reinventing the media so people have a voice in it, and buying into every industry in the country so they can institute more ethical business practices. Nader also has his characters form a new, small political party.  
 
"Small parties have usually been the pioneers. They are the ones who put forward the improvements, and although they may never win an election, they put the pressure - they focus these changes - onto the major parties that in many cases eventually adopt them," he explains.

Nader says he chose the super-rich to be the heroes in his work of fiction because, as in the real world, social re-direction requires money.  "You can't have people movements, and have organizers and mass media and all the expensive things that have to be paid for without a significant amount of money."

Hundreds of wealthy individuals all around the world, Nader says, are willing to spend their money to make a difference. They may just need inspiration and guidance.  "There are some very enlightened super-rich people around the world, in many countries, in Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, but they often don't know what to do other than to give to charity, which is good, but this [the strategy in his book] is money given to social justice, to the shift of power, so that the many have more power than they have now. Charity is important, but it's social justice that prevents hunger in a society. While charity will provide soup kitchens to feed the hungry, which is important on a day-to-day basis, we should not have hunger and starvation in the world, anywhere," he emphasizes.  

Nader says Only the Super Rich Can Save Us offers a roadmap to a practical utopia and he hopes his book sparks a national debate about change.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukraine PM Warns Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid