Tuesday, June 3, 2014

wealth distribution, politics, revlution

 A report prepared by Oxfam International for the 2014 World Economic Forum:

Political capture and economic inequality

Economic inequality is rapidly increasing in the majority of countries. The wealth of the world is divided in two: almost half going to the richest one percent; the other half to the remaining 99 percent. The World Economic Forum has identified this as a major risk to human progress. Extreme economic inequality and political capture are too often interdependent. Left unchecked, political institutions become undermined and governments overwhelmingly serve the interests of economic elites to the detriment of ordinary people. Extreme inequality is not inevitable, and it can and must be reversed quickly. . . .
 Examples of extreme inequality:

VOICE ForeignPolicy.comLet Them Eat Apple PieIncome inequality in the U.S. is now as bad as it was in aristocratic Europe. Are the bread riots finally coming?
  • APRIL 11, 2014
It's almost impossible to imagine a scenario in which the Ryan plan would not increase what is already the most unequal distribution of income and wealth in the industrialized world. If the Republicans were applying for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) stabilization package they'd be laughed out of the office. Republican intransigence virtually assures that efforts to address inequality in the United States will be carried out at the local rather than the national level.
Wealth distribution in the United States is now as skewed as it was in ancien regime France. (Emphasis in the original) . . . .

Americans will tolerate even vast inequality so long as a rising tide lifts all boats. But middle-class incomes have been flat for a generation. (Emphasis in the original). . . . 
. . . . A recent IMF policy paper notes that rising inequality is producing rising demands for redistributionist policies. Indeed, the authors point out that one good reason to address the problem is to forestall populist solutions which could kill the goose that lays golden eggs. It was prudent reform, after all, that prevented the Great Depression from destroying all faith in capitalism. . . . .

The best reason to raise tax rates is not to punish the rich, of course, but to raise the revenue which the United States needs to invest in infrastructure and research, not to mention to pay for Social Security and health care. That investment gap poses a clear and present danger to American global economic leadership. Rising inequality exacerbates the problem by sapping the collective political will needed to address the problem.

President Reagan, as he appears to me:


If the US land mass were distributed as the US wealth is distributed

(The red dot, representing 40% of the world population, looks like it could be my old home town of Raymondville, Texas.)

Here's what happened to the richest of us, and the average of us, during Republican years of austerity, neoliberal capitalism that took hold during the Reagan years.

The effect of the Paul Ryan Budget, passed by he House Representatives with majority Republican support:

President Obama is doing his best to save Capitalism from extremists such as Paul Ryan and his Republican budget, who foster more extreme measures.  Obama is acting like President Roosevelt did.  Is saving capitalism a good thing?  Would we be in a stronger position to compete in the World Competition between Centers of Concentrated Capital (Europe, China, soon South America) if we were to adopt a more egalitarian economic policy?

I think we would.  My Texas friends may prefer a free market.

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