(ed: and of course the same situation/imperatives apply here in new zealand..)
(ed: quite the arresting/mind-focusing headline that one..eh..?..and it couldn’t be a clearer indication/imperative of what must change..)
Oxfam’s released its annual report on inequality – timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum and unlike previous reports (which focused on attractive but misleading stats about the relative wealth of poor and rich people) the new one focuses on the growth in the fortunes of the world’s richest people – a stat that is a much more reliable indicator of growing inequality.
In the new report Oxfam reveals that the planet’s richest 2,000 billionaires got $762 billion richer in 2017 — an average of $381 million each.
One seventh of that gain – if apportioned to the world’s poorest – would eradicate extreme poverty.
Oxfam found that 82 percent of the global wealth produced last year went to the richest 1 percent of the world’s population.
In other words four out of every five dollars of wealth created in 2017 went into the pockets of the 1 percent.
While a new billionaire was created every other day – the 3.7 billion people making up the poorest half of the world’s population saw no increase in their wealth last year.
‘The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system’ said Winnie Byanyima – the executive director of Oxfam.
‘The people who make our clothes – assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited to ensure a steady supply of cheap goods and swell the profits of corporations and billionaire investors’.
Despite a lack of hard numbers – anecdotal evidence suggests the ranks of American itinerants started to boom after the housing collapse and have kept growing.
The cause of the unmanageable household math that drives some people to become nomads is no secret.
Federal minimum wage is stalled at $7.25 an hour.
The cost of shelter continues to climb.
There are now only a dozen counties and one metro area where a full-time minimum-wage worker can afford a one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent.
At the same time the top 1% now makes 81 times more than those in the bottom half do – when you compare average earnings.
For American adults on the lower half of the income ladder – some 117 million of them – earnings haven’t changed since the 1970s.
This is not a wage gap – it’s a chasm.
The most widely accepted measure for calculating income inequality is a century-old formula called the Gini coefficient.
What it reveals is startling.
Today the United States has the most unequal society of all developed nations.
America’s level of inequality is comparable to that of Russia – China – Argentina and the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo.