There’s a lot to be angry about. But I’m a woman of action and I’m trying to do my part.
Is it just me, or does it feel like the world is becoming an angrier place?
I’m not just talking about war-zones and hot-spots. Every where.
Even in a peaceful country like Australia. It feels like there’s a lot more anger flying around than there used to be.
The principal role of our Prime Minister – Rudd, Gillard, Abbott and now Turnbull – now seems to be to act as a lightning rod for community anger. We get to call them all sorts of silly names, and we think that’s fine.
It’s an interesting age I think – this social media age. There are three trends working on this that I can see.
The first is that we have access to so much more information these days. The major papers are no longer the gate-keepers of information they used to be. I don’t have to wait for the papers to tell me about inequality or environmental destruction or sleazy back-room deals. Good chance someone will share it on my face book wall.
So there’s more stuff to be angry about.
At the same time, social media algorithms are designed to give us more of what we like. People like the stuff they agree with.
That means there’s a tendency for social media to give you just one side of the story – whatever side of the story you started with. It also means you end up with a skewed picture of how many people agree with you on a topic. You only see posts from people who have opinions you like.
We feel more confident venting our anger if we feel that we’re well-supported in that position – even if that perception of support is algorithmically generated.
So there’s more stuff to be angry about, and we feel more supported in our anger.
Lastly, pay-per-click media has created an outrage industry. Extreme emotions sell, so we get extremely cute, extremely sentimental, extremely funny, or extremely angry.
And so we have more and more ‘angry voices’ in our world, modelling angry expression for us. Everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t I?
So there’s more stuff to get angry about, more support for our anger, and an industry modelling and promoting angry expression.
It’s hard to see this as a good thing. You could even get angry about it if you wanted to.
But while I might wonder about how much value there is in having an industry devoted to outrage, and how productive outpourings of outrage are when everyone agrees with you already, I do think there are legitimate things to get angry about.
In particular, I think more and more, people are waking up to the fact that economically, the system is stacked against them.
It is not the land of equal opportunity and fair go for all that we thought it was. Not here, not anywhere.
And amazingly, since the GFC, which was caused by the top 0.01% playing silly buggers with the financial system, the rich have gotten richer, and inequality has gotten worse.
In Australia, the top 1% of income earners earnt almost 10% of Australian income. In 1980 they took home just 4.4%.
It’s the same the world over. The share of wealth owned by the middle class has declined in every part of the world.
In America, only the top 10% have seen any income gains since the GFC. Everyone else has been treading water at best. The top 100 CEOs now have more saved for retirement than 41% of the American population.
That’s something like 80 million people.
I don’t think we can keep seeing stats like this roll in without starting to feel like there’s a problem.
And I think a lot of the anger we see around the world – in Australian politics, in the crazy US election, in the Arab Spring, in Greece and Spain – comes down to this. People don’t feel like they’re getting a fair go.
But I am a big believer in equality of opportunity.
And for me, that connects with my life mission for helping people understand how property can be part of a wealth creation strategy.
And I know I get accused of being a bit rough. A bit ‘common’. A bit folksy. But I don’t care.
I’m proud of the work I’ve done helping people access the power of property investment.
Because it used to be a game only for the elite. In my grandparents generation, no one owned investment properties. Maybe they had a little weekender on the coast if they were lucky.
Because the top 1% knew that real wealth was in land. And so they had the game stitched up. And banks that used to make you jump through endless ridiculous hoops helped keep the whole thing locked down.
Thankfully, we’ve moved on. And we live in an age where anybody can become a property investor. And I mean anyone. Doesn’t matter what you’re starting out with – no income, no assets, a tonne of debt, whatever.
I’m proud of the role I’ve played in making property investment a folk art.
Because that’s the other pillar of my life philosophy:
“Don’t get angry, get even.”
Does the world feel like it’s getting angrier to you? What do we do about it?