Wealth of half the world's population now the same as that of tiny elite
Wealthy elites have co-opted political power to rig the rules of the economic game, undermining democracy and creating a world where the 85 richest people own the wealth of half of the world's population, worldwide development organization Oxfam warns in a report published today.
Working For the Few, published ahead of this week's World Economic Forum in Davos, details the pernicious impact that widening inequality is having in both developed and developing countries, helping the richest undermine democratic processes and drive policies that promote their interests at the expense of everyone else.
The report says that there is a growing global public awareness of this power-grab. Polls done for Oxfam in six countries (Brazil, India, South Africa, Spain, the UK and US) show that most people questioned in all those countries believe that laws are skewed in favor of the rich.
Social stability and security are at risk: urgent action needed
Inequality has shot up the global agenda in recent years: US President Obama has made it a key priority for 2014. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has identified widening income disparities as the second greatest worldwide risk in the next 12-18 months. WEF's Global Outlook report, published in November, warned inequality is undermining social stability and 'threatening security on a global scale.'
Full 32 page report is linked on page or can be found here;
The study suggests that social instability threatens security on a global scale. Of course it's recommendations include doing the exact opposite of what has been happening, at least here in the United States.
Strengthening wage floors ie; minimum wage
Cracking down on financial tax dodging. It almost seems as if tax dodging in some circles is seen as a badge of honor.
Support progressive taxation on wealth and income.
Curbing the power of the rich to influence government. The supreme court ruling on Citizens United made it far easier for this to happen.
Investment in free health care and education. For example, NOT Obamacare. Access to higher education in the USA has been further restricted by tuition fees climbing far higher than the rate of inflation.
What concerns me is that should the trends seen in the United States continue, I do think we might see civil unrest, food shortages, and much more violence. Give it ten or twenty years.
Let's talk about some real Inequality.
The kind of Inequality where people don't get to ride on the backs of those rich evil people.
A group of people who have no idea what it's like to own a nice home, have a computer, have a cell phone, have running water, have a card that can buy a basket full of groceries, have heat, air, education. Come on!
Don't shoot yourself in the foot. You like your life don't you?
The average cost of a home in Texas is $176,000
Now let's take a look at Haiti.
- More than 10% of Haitian children die before age five.b
- Eighty percent of Haitians live under the poverty line and 54% live in abject poverty. The average per capita income in Haiti is $480 a year, compared to $33,550 in the United States.
Haiti is poor; we all know that. But just how bad are things?
Rising food prices have forced
some residents of the poorest slums in Port-au-Prince to eat "cookies" made primarily of a dried yellow mud. Traditionally, pregnant women and children have eaten the cookies as an antacid and for calcium, but now some residents have, out of desperation, turned the mud cookies into regular meals.
Last edit by jaad on Jan 21, '14
I just feel so sorry for American's who have it so bad. If "inequality" destroys us, at least we have a few years to live first!
Last edit by jaad on Jan 21, '14
The article mixes two different concepts, income and wealth. The big point is that 85 people have a huge amount of wealth and that's a problem. How would you propose changing that?
Suppose someone has 500 billion dollars and we raise their income tax rate to 39%, or 45%, or even 90%. It does not affect the money they already own. How would you propose decreasing someone's fortune that does not involve taking it from them? Income taxes only affects the rate at which they can increase their wealth.
I always thought that taking someone's possessions was stealing. Maybe there is a different term in vogue to describe that today.
I do agree that a revolution is brewing but I see one of free people who are tired of a government that ignores the Constitution. The 2 million biker ride to DC is the only such protest in recent years that actually managed to come close to their proposed numbers. That was followed by a truckers protest ride. There is talk of an American Spring, a march on Washington to demand the resignation of officials who are acting more like an elite ruling class than elected representatives.
Getting money out of politics is a grand idea and easy to say but I have not heard of any realistic and politically neutral ideas to achieve that.
Last edit by azhiker96 on Jan 21, '14