How perverse is this world where one thousand people control as much as 2.5 billion people? At some point – we’re going to look towards a post-capitalist economy. I don’t know when that time is but I think it is inevitable once we conclude we have the necessary resources to protect everyone and the realization is crystallized in people’s minds that a few people controlling everything really isn’t the way forward. I guess conservatives would just say the 2.5 billion are all just lazy and the reason those thousand people are worth so much is because they’re the “job creators” and such.
CommonDreams talks inequality HERE:
Earth’s richest 1,000 individuals now control as much wealth as the poorest 2.5 billion people on the planet. This super elite uses its vast wealth to control the media, influence politicians, and bend laws to their favor. In the US, the wealthy dominate our government: 47 percent of US representatives are millionaires, as are 67 percent of US senators. The Center for Responsive Politics reports Congressional wealth has increased 11 percent between 2009 and 2011.
Imagine if a tree were engineered like the US economy – with half of its mass centered in the top 10 percent of its height and 40 percent of its mass concentrated in the very topmost branches. Whether redwood or oak, such a tree would not be stable in a windstorm. It would be destined to topple. Of course, nature has better sense.
Just consider what the world’s richest woman just said just yesterday. Think Progress has the story HERE:
The world’s richest woman has equated Australia’s minimum wage to “class warfare,” following her controversial article last week where she called poor workers coddled, lazy drunks. Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart, who inherited her $30 billion fortune and mining empire, pointed to workers who make less than $2 as a model for economic competitiveness in mining:
We must be realistic, not just promote class warfare. Indeed, if we competed at the Olympic games as sluggishly as we compete economically, there would be an outcry.
The evidence is unarguable that Australia is indeed becoming too expensive and too uncompetitive to do export- orientated business. Africans want to work. Its workers are willing to work for less than $2 per day. Such statistics make me worry for this country’s future.
So apparently … if you’re not able to work for $2 an hour …. you’re just not being competitive with global labor forces and thus you should reaccess what you’re willing to earn according to this woman who INHERITED her wealth.
And this global workforce is a big part of the increase in income inequality in advanced economies like America. Thanks to relaxed trade agreements …. so called “low skill” workers are finding their jobs being exported to other countries and at least in America – their is no interest in helping retrain the displaced workers. Free trade only works if you support the middle class workers who get shafted by losing their jobs.
And CNN notes the correlation between union membership declines and income inequality increasing HERE:
The drop in unionization accounts for roughly a third of the growth in wage inequality among men and a fifth among women between 1973 and 2007, according to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.
The share of the workforce represented by unions declined from 26.7% in 1973 to 13.1% in 2011. This contributed to the increase in inequality by lowering wages for middle class workers, according to EPI.
A non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report last year showed that the average household income for the nation’s top 1% more than tripled, while middle-class incomes grew by less than 40% between 1979 to 2007.
And that correlation is simple to understand. It is a matter of supply and demand … as the supply of the labor poll increases due to lowering tariffs and trade barriers companies are able to pay less for labor due to an oversupply relative to their demand. People in Vietnam aren’t unionized. People in Botswana aren’t unionized. People in Honduras aren’t unionized. So while these workers in America struggle to fight for fair pay for a fair day’s work and downward pressures on their pay; people in these low income markets like Vietnam, Honduras, Laos, Haiti, Congo etc … they’re willing to work for slave wages in sweatshops with little to no regulation just so they can survive.
And meanwhile – the oligarchs become richer and richer and richer with no equalizing force in the form of higher taxes to ensure the system stays stable. So – these oligarchs hoard their wealth and become richer … and they see the rest of us as a bunch of animals. If this trend continues – it is hard to know what the end result may be … a bunch of headless oligarchs in a crowded city square, a mass revolt by the masses in a bloodless coup …. who knows what the future holds. My preferred answer is simply to put us back towards a progressive tax code where the rich pay their fair share.
Remember – we are now living in a time where feeding the homeless has been banned in city after city after city (source) and America has the highest rate of child poverty among peer countries (source). Joseph Stiglitz says we won’t fix the country till we fix income inequality HERE; I agree with him:
So, no: there’s little debate over the basic fact of widening inequality. The debate is over its meaning. From the right, you sometimes hear the argument made that inequality is basically a good thing: as the rich increasingly benefit, so does everyone else. This argument is false: while the rich have been growing richer, most Americans (and not just those at the bottom) have been unable to maintain their standard of living, let alone to keep pace. A typical full-time male worker receives the same income today he did a third of a century ago.
From the left, meanwhile, the widening inequality often elicits an appeal for simple justice: why should so few have so much when so many have so little? It’s not hard to see why, in a market-driven age where justice itself is a commodity to be bought and sold, some would dismiss that argument as the stuff of pious sentiment.
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