Monday, January 18, 2016

Growing Inequality, Rising Political Dispossession


Ben Hirschler and Noah Barkin, “A world divided: Elites descend on Swiss Alps amid rising inequality,” Reuters, January 18, 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-davos-meeting-divisions-idUSKCN0UW007

Politicians and business leaders gathering in the Swiss Alps this week face an increasingly divided world, with the poor falling further behind the super-rich and political fissures in the United States, Europe and the Middle East running deeper than at any time in decades.

Just 62 people, 53 of them men, own as much wealth as the poorest half of the entire world population and the richest 1 percent own more than the other 99 percent put together, anti-poverty charity Oxfam said on Monday…

…Last year, the organisation has calculated, 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.5 billion people, or the bottom half of humanity. The wealth of those 62 people has risen 44 percent, or more than half a trillion dollars, over the past five years, while the wealth of the bottom half has fallen by over a trillion.

"Far from trickling down, income and wealth are instead being sucked upwards at an alarming rate," the report says.

RELEVANT POSTS

Majia's Blog: Dispossession: Liberalism's Crisis


Majia's Blog: Dispossession: Liberalism's Crisis Part II

Majia's Blog: The US is a Plutonomy: Here Comes Neo ...


5 comments:

  1. A pretty good video by fairewinds where james heddle introduces arnie with a short statement about how america is now run by oligarchs.
    https://youtu.be/uUSdU8V0RbE

    I had to read Ursula K Leguins book the disposessed in college for a humanities class. It was sci fi that has  commentary on the way capitalism creates underclasses and justifies it.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dispossessed

    I wonder if some of the current coinage of the term dispossessed
    comes from that novel.
    Things have gotten  worse since then   The disposession of the underclasses and even the middle classes has gotten a lot worse.

    There are shanty town unicorporated areas  with rutted out trailers and corrugated shanties. There are tent cities in america where school buses go to pick up children.
    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/children-have-no-place-in-a-cold-homeless-camp/

    I saw a rural shanty town recently that was all white. Poverty now transcends race, political beliefs and religion.

    Think how many people could be employed with 40 billion.
    http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/34153-corporate-charity-is-corporate-power

    Bill Gates Spends a lot of money on modular reactors. Also spends money on this.

    charter schools http://usuncut.com/class-war/how-these-5-famous-billionaires-are-dismantling-black-public-schools/

    The real state of the middle class in America

    http://www.donatidaily.com/home/the-non-existant-middle-class

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    Replies
    1. Good links. Here is another source for statistics on wealth inequality
      Myth of the middle class: Most Americans don’t even have $1,000 in savings

      Ben Norton, "0.1% of Americans have as much wealth as the bottom 90%. It's time to stop saying 'middle class1; it does not exist"
      Salon, http://www.salon.com/2016/01/14/myth_of_the_middle_class_most_americans_dont_even_have_1000_in_savings/

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  2. It takes a certain amount of leisure to know what is going on. Leisure takes time and usually money. Three part time jobs or even one job that pays too little and requires hours of worry as to how to get by destroys leisure. And that's ideal for an oligarchy. The devil makes work for idle hands = leisure? Americans have over worked the concept of "hard work" = good work. Money gets in everyone's way and runs people's lives and runs them into the ground. It creates a society of fear. Even good guys like Ron Paul are caught in the money trap -- gold and silver. That works if one is upper middle class . . . but not for most people. And then worry time is needed to protect those assets.

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    1. That is true, which is why people rely on opinion leaders and sometimes those chosen for the role lead their followers in dangerous directions.

      Is it better to slumber or to be aware?

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    2. As we know ignorance is dangerous. Sleepwalkers make fairly decent soldiers. The more I dig into WWII the more appalling it becomes; Churchill was not merely a drunk, as Roosevelt remarked to Stalin, but a psychopathic war monger. The master mind really of another pointless and grotesquely destructive war. And yet we remember Hitler as the main embodiment of evil. But without Churchill's battalions of sleepwalkers and those from America the war would never have come off. I remember a quote by Erich Fromm to the effect that innocence is fine but not naivete. Unfortunately Hitler's army might then have defeated the Soviet Union which would not have been a good. thing.

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