It’s also a glaring example of the inequities of U.S. democracy, with the two senators from Wyoming (population: 578,000) wielding the same power as the two senators from California (population: 39 million). Senate elections have tilted U.S. politics in favor of rural, predominantly white, and increasingly conservative voters by a factor of two or three over urban voters. Like the Electoral College, the Senate makes a mockery of the “one person one vote” principle by effectively giving some voters much greater power than others.‘An Obstructive Body’ and ‘menace to liberties’: How the U.S. Senate is a Global Problem
many of our world’s wealthiest look at those fossil fuels and see no danger. They see the present and future source of their personal wealth. A significant chunk of the world’s billionaires owe their billions, directly or indirectly, to extractive industries. Keeping fossil fuels buried would jeopardize those billions, and our super rich have the political power, thanks to their wealth, to insist that we keep extracting.
If we let that wealth and power continue to concentrate, fossil fuels will continue to burn.
When you can’t trickle down fast enough (ODT)
Gates, Zuckerberg and Buffett have added a combined $US139 billion to their fortunes since 2010 as the value of their holdings in companies such as Microsoft, Facebook and Berkshire have increased.
Its report, Freedom in the World 2015 — Discarding Democracy: the Return of the Iron Fist, found a resurgence of strongman autocratic leaders, an erosion of civil liberties and rule of law.
Freedom House concluded democracy was “under greater threat than at any point in the last 25 years”.
Since then, two more events have shaken global politics: Brexit and the Trump presidency.
As Goodhart puts it: “We are in a border war between nationalists, mainly on the right, and multicultural globalists mainly on the left.”
We are one of the shining lights in a pall of gloom. Compulsory voting is a critical factor in our favour; it inoculates us against some of the voter apathy or extremism of other countries.
Last year, the OECD economic survey of Australia found “inclusiveness has been eroded”. The earnings of the top households grew by more than 40 per cent between 2004 and 2014: the lowest by 25 per cent.
The world’s richest 1 per cent of people will control close to two-thirds of all global wealth by the year 2030, according to a report produced by the House of Commons library, the research arm of the UK’s parliament.
Just eight men own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population, a new Oxfam report reveals.
Australians have the biggest homes in the world. New free-standing homes are an average 245.3 sqm – three times bigger than UK homes, and 22 times bigger than the average Hong Kong home. For …
The School of Life is a pretty good YouTube channel, and they get quite a lot of stuff right. However, its video titled “Why Some Countries Are Poor and Others Rich”, seen below, wasn’t quite what I had expected. It has comments and the …
The anger and frustration felt by hard-working people who have seen their wages and job security steadily diminish is fuelling a populist revolt against the political establishment
Global inequality, like global warming, is a disease that may be too far along to ever be cured.
We seem helpless, both in the US and around the world, to stop the incessant flow of wealth to an elitist group of people who are simply building on their existing riches. The increasing rate of their takeaway is the message derived from the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook (GWD).
It’s already been made clear that the richest Americans have taken almost all the gains in US wealth since the recession. But the unrelenting money grab is a global phenomenon. The GWD confirms just how bad it’s getting for the great majority of us.
1. US: Even the upper middle class is losing
In just three years, from 2011 to 2014, the bottom half of Americans lost almost half of their share of the nation’s wealth, dropping from a 2.5 percent share to a 1.3 percent share (detail is here).
Most of the top half lost ground, too. The 36 million upper middle class households just above the median (sixth, seventh, and eighth deciles) dropped from a 13.4 percent share to an 11.9 percent share. Much of their portion went to the richest one percent.
This is big money. With total US wealth of $84 trillion, the three-year change represents a transfer of wealth of over a trillion dollars from the bottom half of America to the richest one percent, and another trillion dollars from the upper middle class to the one percent.
2. US: In three years, an average of $5 million went to every household in the one percent
A closer look at the numbers shows the frightening extremes. The bottom half of America, according to GWD, owned $1.5 trillion in 2011. Now their wealth is down to $1.1 trillion. Much of their wealth is in housing equity, which was depleted by the recession.
The richest Americans, on the other hand, took incomprehensible amounts of wealth from the rest of us, largely by being already rich, and by being heavily invested in the stock market. The following summary is based on GWD figures and reliable estimates of the makeup of the richest one percent, and on the fact that almost all the nation’s wealth is in the form of private households and business assets:
- In three years the average household in the top one percent (just over a million households) increased its net worth by about $4.5 million.
- In three years the average household in the top .1 percent (just over 100,000 households) increased its net worth by about $18 million.
- In three years the average household in the top .01 percent (12,000 households) increased its net worth by about $180 million.
- In three years the average member of the Forbes 400 increased his/her net worth by about $2 billion.
3. World: The one percent’s wealth grew from $100 trillion to $127 trillion in three years
A stunning 95 percent of the world’s population lost a share of its wealth over the past three years. Almost all of the gain went to the world’s richest one percent.
Again, the gains seem almost incomprehensible. The world’s wealth grew from $224 trillion to $263 trillion in three years. The world’s richest one percent, who owned a little under $100 trillion in 2011, now own almost $127 trillion. For every dollar they possessed just three years ago, they now have a dollar and a quarter.
From New York and LA and San Francisco to London and Kenya and Indonesia, the rich are pushing suffering populations out of the way to acquire land and build luxury homes. The “winner-take-all” attitude is breaking down society in the US and around the world.
There’s a lot more in the GWD, and it doesn’t get any prettier. It tells us what unregulated capitalism does to a society.
In an upcoming post, we’ll consider what has to be done to end the madness.