Monday, January 22, 2018

This Is a Disease, One That Kills

This is the world that the leaders of the West have created:

42 people hold as much wealth as the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorer half of the world’s population, compared with 61 people last year and 380 in 2009.

The wealth of billionaires had risen by 13% a year on average in the decade from 2006 to 2015, with the increase of $762bn (£550bn) in 2017 enough to end extreme poverty seven times over. It said nine out of 10 of the world’s 2,043 dollar billionaires were men.

Booming global stock markets have been the main reason for the increase in wealth of those holding financial assets during 2017. The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, saw his wealth rise by $6bn (£4.3bn) in the first 10 days of 2017 as a result of a bull market on Wall Street, making him the world’s richest man.

Oxfam said billionaires had been created at a record rate of one every two days over the past 12 months, at a time when the bottom 50% of the world’s population had seen no increase in wealth. It added that 82% of the global wealth generated in 2017 went to the most wealthy 1%.

The charity said it was “unacceptable and unsustainable” for a tiny minority to accumulate so much wealth while hundreds of millions of people struggled on poverty pay. It called on world leaders to turn rhetoric about inequality into policies to tackle tax evasion and boost the pay of workers.

Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB chief executive, said: “The concentration of extreme wealth at the top is not a sign of a thriving economy, but a symptom of a system that is failing the millions of hardworking people on poverty wages who make our clothes and grow our food.”

Goldring said it was time to rethink a global economy in which there was excessive corporate influence on policymaking, erosion of workers’ rights and a relentless drive to minimise costs in order to maximise returns to investors.

Mark Littlewood, director general at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: “Oxfam is promoting a race to the bottom. Richer people are already highly taxed people – reducing their wealth beyond a certain point won’t lead to redistribution, it will destroy it to the benefit of no one. Higher minimum wages would also likely lead to disappearing jobs, harming the very people Oxfam intend to help.”

Two diametrically opposed views, Goldring's and Littlewood's. Which do you imagine has Justin Trudeau's ear?


Toby said...

Mark Littlewood needs to live closer to the bottom. His sense of entitlement stinks.

The Mound of Sound said...

Doesn't it just?

Lorne said...

I know your question was rhetorical, Mound, but here is the answer anyway:

The Mound of Sound said...

I think his premiership will be remembered as 'more of the same' Lorne. We seem to have become accustomed to caretaker governments that eschew vision. Unfortunately, given the challenges of the day both present and looming, now is when we are in dire need to the sort of leadership we once knew many decades ago.

I readly critique Mulroney but he saw the need for change. His position on the environment, particular on acid rain, was commendable. Standing up to the Americans and the Brits on apartheid in South Africa was a source of national pride. The Charlottetown Accord was wrong-headed but at least Mulroney pursued a vision for Canada. All of those things are overshadowed by Mulroney's embrace of neoliberalism, to be sure, but he did try to make Canada better.

Since then it's been a succession of mediocrity - in all of our major parties. Oh, I know, what about Jack Layton? For all the good he did for the NDP, he did his party and the country lasting harm in leading it to abandon the left in a quest for centrist power.

Now we're left with Trudeau, Scheer and Singh. Now we're left with a degraded national politics of parties putting their private interests ahead of the needs of the country almost at every turn. With that blinkered focus there's no need - or room - for vision.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

I hate to sound so cynical Mound, but I've been wondering lately if our best days are behind us. If all we have is Trudeau, Scheer and Singh to look forward to politically then I can't see any real change, only more of the neoliberal sameness.

The Mound of Sound said...

I can't argue with your assessment, Pamela.