Saturday, April 16, 2016

Billionaires on a bus

Just 62 people own as much as half of the world's population now.  That's the GAP -- the accelerating inequality that is creating a different world than the one where you were born.  
See the Oxfam reportone of many on the subject.

It wouldn't be so bad, rich people getting richer, if it wasn't at the expense of everyone else.  Do the research yourself.  The resources of countries are extracted for the benefit of the wealthy, not the country's citizens, and it is particularly visible in countries that were former colonies.  The business model that pervades the global financial system is profitability and wealth extraction while minimizing costs for wages and employee benefits.  Your value to your employer is your work after which you're just refuse.

This is the developing world, one of the nicer neighborhoods.
We didn't understand.  Until we worked with these
 folks and spent time in their world, it just
didn't register in our view of things.
This is real life and the norm
for more than half of
the world.

Those are harsh words, and there are many exceptions.  Many employers treat their workers rather well, comparatively speaking.  Benefits may be provided for things like parental leave, matching retirement contributions, educational assistance, and more.   The trend, however isn't good.  The marketplace competition extends now to owners vs. workers.

Those 62 folks are significantly richer than they were a few years ago.  In 2010, it took the top 388 to match half the world's wealth, but as they get richer (which they do at an incredible rate) the rest of the world is the source of their wealth. The last fifty years have seen the GAP widen continuously with zero progress for most, and decline for many.  Just the wealthy are rising.

Today, the top 1% hold half of the world's wealth as the trend of the last half century continues.

The GAP is not the only issue we face, but it is perhaps the most visible clue for what the future holds.  The trend is both national and global.

Is there anything wrong with being
spectacularly  wealthy?  
Interesting question.  

For this most recent decade, the poor folks I met were nicer
than pretty much all the rich folks I encountered.  Generous
and unfailingly hospitable, kind hearted, all of them.  
The rich, not so much.
Does our understanding of wealth include where it comes from? Conscience perhaps requires an answer to that question.

Is there a right path for us as individuals?

Governments face a dilemma, do they not.  Shall they acquiesce to monied interests or defend the common good? How's their record so far?

(The facts and numbers here are concurred by various objective and non-collaborative sources.)