Executive bonuses inflated by JobKeeper, rising property and share prices, tax cuts for the wealthy. What’s not to like about 2020 for the top end of town? Tasha May takes a closer look at how the pandemic is exacerbating wealth inequality in Australia.Vintage year for the wealthy: COVID-19 widens gap between rich and poor – Michael West
Trump, so it goes, was too big to fail. Well here we go again. According to the Wall St Journal: “More than 500 staff at Trump properties in New York, Washington, Las Vegas and Florida have been laid off or furloughed, say people familiar with the matter and federal disclosures. Several Trump hotels have been closed, and those still running have experienced dwindling occupancies. One day in March, the family’s flagship Trump International Hotel in Washington had just 11 guests in its 263 rooms, according to an employee.”
We really need to know
Statistics are windows on change. Despite our criticisms, the bureau’s biennial income and wealth survey gives us the best view of inequality we’ve got, but large areas remain foggy.
In research for the Evatt Foundation, we have used data from the Bureau of Statistics, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and national accounts to estimate that, for the first time in more than half a century, the richest 10% of households own more than half of Australia’s private wealth.
The Evatt Foundation’s results seem to stand up well, but governments should really be producing better data themselves.
Inequality and its harmful effects on economic output and stability are growing. We owe it to ourselves to find out by how much.
A report published recently by Swiss bank UBS shows the world’s wealthiest are now worth $9.1 trillion, enough to spend $1 million per day for 30,000 years.
In 2017, more than 2,000 billionaires around the world became even wealthier, pushing their collective fortunes to historic levels. According to a report recently published by Swiss bank UBS and accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), no other year in recorded history, including the industrial revolution and the Gilded Age, has seen such a massive increase in wealth of the global elite.
Just over 2,150 people have seen their wealth increase by 20 percent, many doing so through various forms of inheritance and asset transfers.
From massive inequality to the climate crisis, these powerful corporations “are able to demand that governments do their bidding”
Did you know that 10 per cent of Australians now hold more wealth than the other 90 per cent combined? Let me put it another way. The richest one per cent of Australians are collectively wealthier than the poorest 60 per cent. Or try this 62 mega-rich people across the globe now hold as much wealth as 3.6 billion of the world’s poorest. Try this. Australia’s richest person was worth $18 billion, equaling the wealth held by the poorest 10 per cent of Aussies.Here’s some more from an Oxfam report titled “An Economy for the 1%“: The world’s richest 1% now hold more wealth than the rest of the planet. The richest 10 per cent of Australians hold more wealth than the other 90 per cent combined. The gap between Australia’s richest and poorest is accelerating. In 2015, the wealth of Australia’s richest 1% outstripped the poorest 60%. Australia’s richest person is worth more than all of the wealth held by the poorest 10 per cent of Australians. Dr Szoke from Oxfam, the reports writer, said Australia must be part of a global solution to a global problem, and a renewed international focus on corporate tax avoidance would be critical to efforts to address wealth inequality.So isn’t it odd that the Turnbull Government is contemplating increasing the rate of its consumer tax in order to give the same companies a reduction in the amount of tax they pay. Figure that out.
If income inequality feeds disparities across generations, policies should encourage different social classes to share neighbourhoods and regions
Is life getting better in Australia? Not on some important measures, according to the latest Wellbeing Index.
By Josh Hoxie | ( Inequality.org ) | – – A new study shows the legacy of racism far outweighs …
In 2015, Bill Gates’ fortune was evaluated at $83.6 billion. Mexican telecommunications tycoon has suffered largest losses among the billionaires, whose fortunes were included on the list
Just eight men own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population, a new Oxfam report reveals.
The forbes 400 is the definitive list of wealth in america, profiling and ranking the country’s richest billionaires by their estimated net worths.
So what’s the point? What do we gain from this war of all against all? Competition drives growth, but growth no longer makes us wealthier. Figures published this week show that, while the income of company directors has risen by more than a fifth, wages for the workforce as a whole have fallen in real terms over the past year. The bosses earn – sorry, I mean take – 120 times more than the average full-time worker. (In 2000, it was 47 times). And even if competition did make us richer, it would make us no happier, as the satisfaction derived from a rise in income would be undermined by the aspirational impacts of competition.
The top 1% own 48% of global wealth, but even they aren’t happy. A survey by Boston College of people with an average net worth of $78m found that they too were assailed by anxiety, dissatisfaction and loneliness. Many of them reported feeling financially insecure: to reach safe ground, they believed, they would need, on average, about 25% more money. (And if they got it? They’d doubtless need another 25%). One respondent said he wouldn’t get there until he had $1bn in the bank.
For this, we have ripped the natural world apart, degraded our conditions of life, surrendered our freedoms and prospects of contentment to a compulsive, atomising, joyless hedonism, in which, having consumed all else, we start to prey upon ourselves. For this, we have destroyed the essence of humanity: our connectedness.
Yes, there are palliatives, clever and delightful schemes like Men in Sheds and Walking Football developed by charities for isolated older people. But if we are to break this cycle and come together once more, we must confront the world-eating, flesh-eating system into which we have been forced.
Hobbes’s pre-social condition was a myth. But we are entering a post-social condition our ancestors would have believed impossible. Our lives are becoming nasty, brutish and long.