Does Elon Musk have a right to destroy Twitter?

Do we really think that the super-wealthy should be allowed to control so much wealth and wield so much influence?

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Image credit: James Duncan Davidson

You break it, you own it. That’s what I was told as a child. But for today’s billionaires, it seems like the opposite is true.

“You own it, you can break it” — at least if you’re rich enough. 

Just look at Elon Musk.

He paid a fortune for Twitter and is now busily destroying it — firing half its employees and driving out even morecausing chaos on the platformmaking advertisers flee, and threatening bankruptcy.

Or consider Sam Bankman-Fried, who became a billionaire after founding the popular cryptocurrency exchange FTX — until he drove the company into bankruptcy.

Seems FTX was a Ponzi scheme that got out of hand. At least $1 billion in customer funds is reportedly missing.

These billionaires are presumed to be free from responsibility because they own what they’ve had a hand in destroying. So under the rules of capitalism, they have a right to do whatever they want with their money. Right?

Wrong. Millions have come to rely on Twitter as a vital source of information and connection.  Investors put their money — and trust — in FTX. These people aren’t mere collateral damage. They’re bearing a big part of the cost.

“You own it, you can break it” is a careless norm for a complex society.

Do we really think that the super-wealthy should be allowed to control so much wealth and wield so much influence?

Absolutely not. We need stronger laws protecting the rest of us from the recklessness of these so-called “disruptors.”

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Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "Saving Capitalism." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, co-founder of the nonprofit Inequality Media and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, Inequality for All.

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