How privilege and power in the economy drive extreme inequality and how this can be stopped
The global inequality crisis is reaching new extremes. The richest 1% now have more wealth than the rest of the world combined, and 62 billionaires own the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion people on the planet. Power and privilege is being used to skew the economic system to increase the gap between the richest and the rest.
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By Laura Flanders, Truthout | Interview and Video
A new study from Oxfam published just ahead of this year’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, reported that just one percent of the world’s population controls nearly half of the planet’s wealth and 70 percent of the world’s people live in countries where income inequality has been growing in the last 30 years. In the US, the gap between rich and poor has grown faster than in any other developed country. The top one percent has captured 95 percent of all growth since the putative “recovery” of 2009. This is the “new normal.” Is it sustainable?
Barbara Garson is the author of a series of books describing American working lives at historically important turning points. If this is one of those turning points, it’s one in which the one percent have won:
“That the so-called recovery that everyone is bragging about is this,” Garson told GRITtv in a recent interview. “We’ve recovered, we’ve taken your full-time job away and given you a part-time job, and we’ve given the difference to our stockholders.”
The trouble is, this cockeyed situation is not stable, and even the capitalists, maybe especially the capitalists, should be worried.
“There are capitalist solutions, like redistribution, but they’re not doing it. That may be why we have a socialist solution this time,” she concludes. “If seventeen percent of the houses are vacant, we’ll just move into them.”
Garson’s new book is Down the Up Escalator: How the 99% Live. You can watch our conversation at GRITtv.org.
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Oxfam: Richest 1% own nearly half of world’s wealth
The richest 1% own 46% of global wealth
Almost half of the world’s wealth is owned by just 1% of the world’s population, according to a report published just days before the start of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, where the topic of rapidly increasing income disparities will be a major focus.
In its study titled “Working for the Few,” the British-founded development charity Oxfam concludes that the $110 trillion wealth of the 1% richest people on the planet is some 65 times the total wealth of those floundering at the “bottom half” of the world’s population.
Further, this poorer “bottom half” now has about the same amount of money as the richest 85 people in the world, and the wealthiest grew their share of bounty in 24 out of 26 countries surveyed between 1980 and 2012, the study says. The research was compiled using data from Credit Suisse’s World Wealth report and the Forbes’ billionaires list.
“In the last 30 thirty years seven out of 10 people have been living in countries where economic inequality has increased,” Nick Galasso, one of the co-authors of the study, told USA TODAY. “This is a trend that has been unfolding globally for the last two or three decades. What we’ve not seen is any political will toward curbing it.”
Read more » USA Today