Now five men own almost as much wealth as half the world’s population

by Paul Buccheit

AlterNet | June 12, 2017

While Americans fixate on Trump, the super-rich are absconding with our wealth, and the plague of inequality continues to grow. An analysis of 2016 data found that the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth. As of June 8, 2017, the world’s richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth. Thus, on average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people.

Why Do We Let a Few People Shift Great Portions of the World’s Wealth to Themselves?

Most of the super-super-rich are Americans. We the American people created the internet, developed and funded artificial intelligence, and built a massive transportation infrastructure, yet we let just a few individuals take almost all the credit, along with hundreds of billions of dollars.

Defenders of the out-of-control wealth gap insist that all is OK, because after all, America is a meritocracy in which the super-wealthy have earned all they have. They heed the words of Warren Buffett: “The genius of the American economy, our emphasis on a meritocracy and a market system and a rule of law has enabled generation after generation to live better than their parents did.”Read More »

Why It Matters That Poor Kids Don’t Have Time to Play

by Livia Gershon

TalkPoverty.org | June 01, 2017

Student on swing set

(AP Photo/Sandy Huffaker)

Last year, Allyn taught a second grade class in a high-poverty school in Saint Petersburg, Florida. The school had been in the papers for poor test results, and it was pushing to change by adding extra time for reading instruction.

“We were very strictly monitored how each minute of our day was spent,” said Allyn, who asked me to use only her middle name. “I think we were in the spotlight so much from all the media that they were just super strict about how our day was supposed to go.”

Read More »

What’s driving abnormal profit margins? Monopoly

Corporate Profits

by

MR Online | May 02, 2017

GMO‘s Jeremy Grantham is worried about the perseverance of abnormally high corporate profit margins in the US. The phenomenon is amongst other things upsetting the standard notion that profits are mean reverting to historic averages. But as the following chart from GMO’s latest quarterly letter shows this just isn’t happening:

Read More »

FACE OF AN ECONOMY: Thousands of “evaporated people” are “disappearing” in Japan

A Journal of People report

Thousands of Japanese citizens have reportedly started leaving behind their formal identities. They are seeking refuge in the anonymous, off-the-grid world. They are tormented by the shame of a lost job, failed marriage, or mounting debt.

A report by Chris Weller said on May 1, 2017:

“In Japanese, the word is johatsu, or ‘evaporated people’.

“Tormented by the shame of a lost job, failed marriage, or mounting debt, thousands of Japanese citizens have reportedly started leaving behind their formal identities and seeking refuge in the anonymous, off-the-grid world. Read More »

FACE OF AN ECONOMY: Japan’s fertility problem and a demographic time bomb

R26B / flickr

A Journal of People report

Japan is facing a graver fertility problem.

A report by Chris Weller in Business Insider said:

“It’s the kind of stat you might casually tell a friend at a bar: For the last six years, Japan has sold more adult diapers than baby diapers.

“But Japan’s fertility problems are far more grave than toilet-related trivia.”Read More »

Violence costs world economy $14 trillion a year: It’s an alarming market failure

A Journal of People report

The economic impact of violence and conflict to the global economy was $13.6 trillion in 2015, said a report of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). The figure is equivalent to 13.3 percent of the world GDP or $1,876 PPP per annum, per person. To further break it down, that figure is $5 per person, per day, every day of the year. When one considers that according to the most recent World Bank estimates 10.7% of the world’s population are living on less than $2 per day, it shows an alarming market failure.
The figures in the report are expressed in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.
The IEP said:
Iraq, Afghanistan and Venezuela are the countries where the impact of violence is more than 40 percent of GDP, and the Syrian economy is the most affected by violence, at 54.1 percent of GDP. Regionally, the cost of violence has surged in the Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa.Read More »

The Italian Banking Crisis

No Free Lunch: Or Is There?

by Ellen Brown

Dissident Voice | 21 December, 2016

It has been called “a bigger risk than Brexit”– the Italian banking crisis that could take down the eurozone. Handwringing officials say “there is no free lunch” and “no magic bullet.” But UK Prof. Richard Werner says the magic bullet is just being ignored.

*****

On December 4, 2016, Italian voters rejected a referendum to amend their constitution to give the government more power, and the Italian prime minister resigned. The resulting chaos has pushed Italy’s already-troubled banks into bankruptcy. First on the chopping block is the 500 year old Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA (BMP), the oldest surviving bank in the world and the third largest bank in Italy. The concern is that its loss could trigger the collapse of other banks and even of the eurozone itself.Read More »

Leontief Prize Lecture

by Amit Bhaduri

Frontier | Vol. 49, No.13-16, Oct 2 – 29, 2016

Analogies can mislead, but also illuminate at times by providing fresh perspective to a complex problem. The analogy that comes to my mind is the law of gravitation for discussing the link between inequality and economic power. Inequality is visible, even statistically measurable in many instances, but economic power that drives it is invisible and not measurable. Like the force of gravity, power is the organizing principle. Of inequality, be it of income, wealth, gender, race, religion or region. Its effects are seen in a pervasive manner in all spheres, but the ways in which economic power pulls and tills visible economic variables remain invisibly obscure. It defies direct empirical analysis, and has to be analysed through its effects.Read More »

Curious Notes on Globalisation, Labour and National Society

by Swatahsiddha Sarkar

Frontier | 18 August , 2016

Globalization, a buzzword, has been variously interpreted and analysed. In its most widest and comprehensive manifestation globalization is understood primarily as an economic process that gradually absorbs the other domains of life like politics, culture, ethics, and morality. As an economic process it advocates the absorption of some policy measures which will revamp the economy of a national society[1] in tune with the terms of global trade and market relations. The policy measures are aimed at opening up of a national economy so that the free flow of capital, technology, goods and services, and labour across national boards could be ensured. Viewed as such globalization thus contributing towards lengthening of connections between places in ‘a novel way’ which were otherwise afar and making the world becoming more deeply interconnected through the churnings of – what has been called as – ‘living  globally’. The turning of a rather economic process into cultural, social and political one depends upon several key factors and forces. These factors and forces – culminating in a new market mantra – are actualized through several agencies like Trans-national Corporations (TNCs), Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and the International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs).Read More »

Billionaire Bonanza as Wealth Surges Among One Percent

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Common Dreams | 08 August, 2016

Of the 148 new billionaires last year, 140 of them were male, bringing the total number to 2,179 compared with just 294 female billionaires. (Photo: Thomas Hawk/cc/flickr)
Of the 148 new billionaires last year, 140 of them were male, bringing the total number to 2,179 compared with just 294 female billionaires. (Photo: Thomas Hawk/cc/flickr)
There is little doubt that the global one percent is winning. In fact, a new study has found that the number of billionaires reached an all-time high in 2015 at the same time that their portfolios and piggy banks also continued to grow to record proportions.According to the 2015-2016 Billionaire Census by international market research firm Wealth-X, which bills itself as “the global authority on wealth intelligence,” the billionaire population grew by 6.4 percent last year and now totals 2,473 people worldwide. The combined wealth of those individuals also increased by 5.4 percent, amounting to $7.7 trillion—which is more than every country’s gross domestic product (GDP), except the United States ($17.9 tr) and China ($11 tr).

Read More »