I AM amazed that someone as intelligent as Michael Fry obviously still believes in the trickle-down economy (Why Scotland should celebrate our billionaires..., May 15).

Jim Ratcliffe of Ineos is worth £21 billion, according to the Sunday Times Rich List. This is not only wrong, it is inhuman.

Pensioners – most of whom, like myself, have well below £10,000 a year – are being asked to contribute to the wellbeing of the youth of this country. I think Michael would do well to inform our youth about where their money went after the banks collapsed. It went straight into the pockets of those on the Rich List – but that’s capitalism. Does Michael think this is the right way for human beings to behave?

I think Michael and our young people need a lesson in Marxist philosophy.

This weekend we have the church, the government and the royals colluding to keep the homeless off the streets so that a very rich couple can have an extravagant do for their wedding, without having to look at the poor. This of course is to distract the people’s minds from the economy, which is in the worst state we have seen for many years.

Capitalism always results in boom and bust – that’s boom for the rich and bust for the poor. When billionaires keep wages down, the workers will eventually rebel. If they don’t demand their fair share they will forever be slaves to the super rich.

Rosemary Smith
East Kilbride

MICHAEL Fry’s article on Scotland’s billionaires holds that it would be wise for the nationalist movement to “foresee a future where the rich are allowed and encouraged to flourish”.

This, he advances, would be the only way of redressing the balance for the poor as well.

Are the increasingly wide gulfs in social inequality reassuring anyone at all of the power of that invisible hand that oversees all the trickle-down Fry has such risibly misplaced faith in? Minute by minute, labyrinthine mechanisms operate to ensure the rigorous redistribution of wealth. Upwards, that is.

Business activity and enterprise do not emerge from the ether.They are infrastructurally supported and incentivised in all kinds of ways. Tax relief on small breweries played an important part in bringing some huge success stories to what are now major players in craft brewing, as did start-ups through crowdfunding. Dingwall boasts, I believe, a community-owned green distillery, at a time when the removal of green subsidies has held back what should be a bonanza of long-term sustainable economic activity.

Surely these are the examples we should be praising. We live in a nation where small and medium-size enterprises are more the norm. It is possible to hold on to the idea of individual enterprise, but perhaps not in the form seen in rich lists that fawn over the pursuit of wealth as an end in itself.

The rich should be encouraged and allowed to flourish, Michael Fry states. Eugene Debs, the 1920s American union leader and presidential candidate (once whilst in prison), wrote The Sins Of Carnegie, examining Andrew Carnegie’s relationship with the unions. We should be able to take a broader, more informed and critical look at those we lump together as “the rich”. This need not be written off as piqued, peevish, prolier-than-thou class resentment, as Fry states, but a view that favours transparency surrounding the interests, assets and affiliations of those held in such esteem. This is necessary to let people make an informed decision on the worth of an individual’s contribution to society as a whole.

It appears that simple, shameful greed has somehow become oddly disconnected from the possession of wealth. In one of the many libraries he gifted the people, we might be able to source Carnegie’s perhaps ironic insight that “to die rich is to die in disgrace”.

Monica Foe

DOES Michael Fry really believe what he writes? The argument that we should encourage the rich as the only way of redressing the balance for the poor makes pathetic reading. From his review of the 1000 names on the Rich List we learn the tragic news that the Queen has dropped from number one in 1989 to around 300. Can we expect a cut in the Maundy Money?

Had Mr Fry included a list of the top thousand tax avoiders, would it bear some relation to the Rich List? Many informed commentators are becoming aware that capitalism is killing the planet.

Iain R Thomson

IN contending that sooner is better than later, Peter Bell in his letter of May 15 is likelier right than wrong. However much you analyse, weigh odds, etc, if the intention is there then it has to become action.

Waiting for what can be termed the opportune time for a second referendum can be translated as an euphemism for postponement, and too often a quagmire of events ensues and intentions sink in the quagmire. Scotland has never needed independence in the future, in some political paradise, some idyllic economic nirvana: its need is and has always been immediate.

There is no earthly reason why Scotland being self-governing cannot co-exist harmoniously with all the other distinctive parts of the British Isles, and they with it. Britain’s empire is no more, let’s be done with it and stop pretending it is still with us. It isn’t. Only political ostriches inhabit its spaces.

Ian Johnstone