The Margin: Ban billionaires? Capitalism takes beating at the hands of Teen Vogue and others

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Socialism is having a moment. Or at least anti-capitalism is.

According to a 2017 survey from Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, one in two millennials say they would rather live in a socialist or communist country than a capitalist democracy.

Taking it a step further, almost a quarter of them have a favorable view of Karl Marx and, weirdly, a few even see Joseph Stalin and Kim Jong Un as “heroes.”

A recent poll from Gallup similarly showed Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are more positive about socialism than capitalism. In 2010, 68% viewed capitalism positively. That number has dropped to just 45%.

Here’s a breakdown of the survey:

Lately, as more and more headlines paint the picture of a widening chasm between the rich and the poor and voters rally around progressive candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the rhetoric has really ramped up across the internet.

Enter Teen Vogue. Yes, Teen Vogue.

Amid tweets about Kendall Jenner and silk scrunchies, the Vogue-but-for-teenagers magazine kicked up some buzz with this missive:

While the article linked in the tweet was a less-controversial thumbsucker laying out pros and cons of both socialism and capitalism, the bait was taken and the social-media response was swift.

At least we’re not DENMARK, right?

Teen Vogue wasn’t the only one beating up on the 1%. The rich also got scorched in a GQ piece titled, “Billionaires are the leading cause of climate change,” in which Luke Darby began with, “As the world faces environmental disaster on a biblical scale, it’s important to remember exactly who brought us here.”

Who exactly is that? He threw out names like the Koch brothers, the Exxon XOM, +0.52%  bosses, Las Vegas Sands LVS, -1.92%  honcho Sheldon Adelson, etc..

“The fossil-fuel industry’s interests are too well-insulated by the mountains of cash that have been converted into lobbyists, industry-shilling Republicans and Democrats, and misinformation,” Darby wrote. “To them, the rest of the world is just kindling.”

And finally, the “Hmm Daily” blog took it up a notch with the hottest take of them all, courtesy of former Gawker and Deadspin editor Tom Scocca.

“Billionaires are bad,” he wrote, half-jokingly, or so it seemed. “We should presumptively get rid of billionaires. All of them.”

He wasn’t not talking about revolution. Not the violent kind, anyway. He said billionaires should be allowed to keep living, just not with all that money.

“No one needs a billion dollars. No one deserves a billion dollars,” he explained, pointing out the false belief that billionaires earn their fortunes by adding value to society, and, in the process, just take their rightful piece of the greater good.

“One pictures some great industrialist inventing and manufacturing a useful item, which makes every single person’s life better, and in return receiving a small share of the price of the item,” Scocca wrote. “A kindergarten teacher, teaching 25 new people a year not to bite each other and to work in occasional harmony with strangers, produces far more social good in a lifetime than an industrialist.”

He cited the Forbes rich list, which is “larded with monopolists, retailers, retail monopolists, the heirs of retail monopolies, real estate magnates, Mark Zuckerberg,” for proof of the value-add.

“What do they do with all their extra money? They buy atrocious houses. They shut down publications. They buy politicians, over and under the table,” he wrote. “Now a whole batch of them have moved directly into government — and we have the most corrupt and incompetent executive branch in memory to show for it.”

So, to sum it all up: Billionaires suck, they’re responsible for a lot of bad stuff, like global warming, and we need to get our socialism on. Discuss!

But, hey, good news for the anti-capitalists: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -1.63%  is down another 300 points.

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