Gravity's Rainbow

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The privilege of the wealthy


From Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed:

in the United States … wealthy people increasingly seek to insulate themselves from the rest of society, aspire to create their own separate virtual [communities], use their own money to buy services for themselves privately, and vote against taxes that would extend those amenities as public services to everyone else.  Those private amenities include living inside gated walled communities, relying on private security guards rather than on the police, sending one’s children to well-funded private schools with small classes rather than to the underfunded crowded public schools, purchasing private health insurance or medical care, drinking bottled water instead of municipal water… Underlying such privatization is a misguided belief that the elite can remain unaffected by the problems of society around them: the attitude of those Greenland Norse chiefs who found that they had merely bought themselves the privilege of being the last to starve. [emphasis mine]

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