Neoliberalism has worked to move much of the world’s wealth into fewer hands. Steadily, the situation grows worse and, unless reversed, this trend may lead to international calamity.
Oxfam reported in 2017 Just 8 men own same wealth as half the world. These were:
- Jeff Bezos,
- Michael Bloomberg,
- Warren Buffett,
- Larry Ellison,
- Bill Gates,
- Amancio Ortega,
- Carlos Slim Helu,
- Mark Zuckerberg.
In 1995, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was the richest man in the world, worth $12.9 billion, an amount equivalent to $20.4 billion in 2020 dollars.
In 2019, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos was reportedly worth $156 billion before his $38 billion divorce settlement. In real dollars, 7.6 times more than Gates’ wealth 25 years ago.
Yet politicians who rule most developed nations don’t act to slow or reverse the concentration of wealth. Most see it as beneficial and few speak of this agglomeration as a risk to security.
The Global Risks Report 2020 is published by the World Economic Forum, a group not noted for promoting equitable societies or discussing inequality. Yet it offers warnings to the rich and powerful:
Compounding the economic risk factors that are manifesting is a widespread domestic discontent with current economic systems, perceived to be rigged and unfair.
Concern about inequality underlies recent social unrest on almost every continent. …domestic income inequality has risen in many countries—particularly in advanced economies—and reached historical highs in some.
The OECD reports that “income inequality in OECD countries is at its highest level for the past half century.” Many of those protesting have long been excluded from their country’s wealth and share frustration that the elite have captured gains at the expense of others.
In British Columbia, the provincial Liberal Party is distressed by even small movements toward a more equitable society. Leader Andrew Wilkinson was at the Vancouver Board of Trade days ago, talking of ways to “ensure our province gets back on the right track.”
He gave an example of what that would involve when he promised to eliminate the real estate speculation tax, an act that could restart the upward spiral of housing costs. Good for the 1%; bad for the rest of us.
Mobile devices probably only show page one of the document provided by Lew Edwardson. Here it is available
Categories: Income Inequality