Obscene…

…that’s all I have to say about this

The richest 2 per cent of adults own more than half the world’s wealth, according to the most comprehensive study of personal assets.

SNIP

The richest 10 per cent of adults accounted for 85 per cent of assets. The bottom 50 per cent of the world’s adults owned barely 1 per cent of global wealth.

SNIP

In terms of wealth distribution the US was among the most unequal, whereas Japan had one of the lowest levels of inequality. Britain ranked with Russia, Indonesia and Pakistan in wealth inequality.

18 thoughts on “Obscene…

  1. I notice a lot of your posts hightlight problems, but few focus on solutions. What would you do to address this wealth gap?

  2. Anon…Out of curiousity could you tell me which “a lot of posts” you are referring to?

  3. What would you do to address this wealth gap?
    Raise the minimum wage? Narrow the gap between the wages of the workers and their corporate masters? Raise taxes on the billionnaires among us (they’d never even miss the money), and reduce taxes on the middle class?
    Put on your thinking cap, Anonymous. I’m sure you could could come up with something too.

  4. Nice catch Scoiut.
    I would like to tie this into the Insurance debate which you started and which , as a vast understatement, has hit a nerve.
    The unprecedented profits of the insurance industry, along with obscenely high compensation for those at the top, coinciding with the companies refusing to take any risk – this seems to match the inequity of wealth distribution.
    I also find it interesting that Japan was cited as having one of the lower inequities in wealth – even though the graphic shows Japan as posessing a high level of the world’s wealth. Lets just say that Japan likes money but the inequity within society isn’t as large.
    The question is, how does this fit what is a good society?

  5. I guess it did hit a nerve. Now it is my responsibility to redistribute the world’s wealth

  6. Drawing attention to it, to the underreported severity of it, is what.
    We here in the comments are supposed to share OUR ideas,
    So, what’s your idea? (I may or may not have one, look below)

  7. Crapola! It ate my comment!
    can that be fixed? whenver i get the security code wrong my message is lost for all time. I just lost like 2 pages.
    lucky you. 😉
    in short
    – increase minimum wages, cap top wages at a multiplier of lowest wage paid by the company. (100x?)
    – Universal health insurance
    – consumption taxation

  8. – consumption taxation in place of wage taxation.
    this makes sure ALL the wealthy pay their share.

  9. mdhatter…sorry about that
    I’ll let Athenae know to see if it can be fixed…not sure it can be

  10. Anonymous: Here’s a solution: eat the rich.
    There. Did you like that? What’s YOUR solution? Or maybe you don’t want one…
    –Mothra

  11. From conversations with people who know more than I do, here’s a couple of things we can try (that hatter hasn’t already mentioned):
    When we reinstate the inheritance tax, we make it progressive by percent of the wealth not flat dollar value. Your estate is 5% of the GNP? Let’s have 50% of that, shall we? 1% of the GNP? OK, you owe us 25% of that. 0.00001%? Don’t worry–you keep that. That way we don’t have to reopen arguments about what the dollar value should be every ten years.
    Restore the power of labor as a force in the marketplace. Not sure how to do this, but maybe we make companies reserve some amount of voting stock for employees, and they can elect representatives to vote their interests at stockholders meetings (kind of like a labor union, but unique to each corporation, maybe).
    Eliminate “contribution-based” retirement programs and restore “benefit-based” programs. In other words, takes these shitty, half-assed 401K pieces of crap and bring back pensions. And for gods sake, stop letting companies bail on pensions and screw workers over: that pension was a deferred salary payment, you assholes, not a “gift”. Fork it over.
    How about we remove the provision that says that corporations have all the rights as persons but none of the responsibilities? That’ll help a whole lot right there.
    Oh, and maybe we could eliminate all those damn tax shelters and loopholes that have created an entire multi-billion dollar industry whose sole purpose is to screw over the “little guy” taxpayers who don’t make enough money to tak advantage of any of it.
    Here’s the sum, I think: we take every self-centered, entitlement-blinded bastard who thinks that he shouldn’t have to pay taxes even though he uses MORE OF THE GOVERNMENT INFRASTRUCTURE than any of the mythical “welfare queens” and we start charging him by the service.
    Want to fly somewhere? Fine, that’ll be $1800 for the first class plane ticket and $200,000 for your share of airport maintenance, security, traffic control, weather reporting, etc. along the route. Want to use your own private jet? Please enter your credit card number for flight instructions at each tower you pass.
    Driving? Hm…that’ll be $600 to make the light turn green, sir, and $2000 for road damage–stretch Hummer? Oh, that’ll be $4000, then.
    I see your cook went shopping for food–did you want non-poisoned, non-infected food? That’ll be extra for food inspection and health regulations. That firewood? Oh, that came from a lumber company with a govt. subsidy–another $1000, please, per cord.
    etc. I’m tired of these idiotic short-sighted bastards controlling our economic discourse.
    Dorothy

  12. My gu3ess is that we agree on this:
    Be careful on how you define “consumption taxation” as it could be misinterprested as sales tax – which unfortunately is extremely regressive.

  13. The wealth inequality is largely a result of allowing the very rich to pass on the bulk of their estates without paying significant taxes on them. Even when the Federal Estate Tax (which was never a “death tax”) was operative, it only affected the very largest estates and there were all kinds of loopholes so that the disgustingly rich could pass tons of money along to their offspring without having to pay much, if any, taxes.
    That could be fixed. There could be changes in inheritance laws, too, though that’s a state and not a federal matter. If you really wanted to keep one group from hanging onto all the property, you could make it illegal to pass on more than a certain amount of money or its equivalent, and whatever is accumulated beyond that goes to the common welfare.
    Then you could turn to corporations. There’s no real need for CEO’s to be taking in such humongous compensations when their companies are holding wages artificially low and/or laying off people or forcing them to give back their benefits. I don’t for a minute believe that you wouldn’t be able to find people to act as CEO’s for multimillion dollar corporations without paying them obscene amounts of money. Again, tax law and a little securities regulation could work some changes there.
    Raise the minimum wage; make the tax system more equitable; penalize corporations that go offshore to avoid taxes.
    How’s that for a proposal?
    Nora (still can’t log in under my own name)

  14. Quite right.
    Not through a straight sales tax…far too regressive, unless you can cap it somehow. Not sure how.
    Which is why the Value Added Tax (lost in the eating of the first message) model seems to apply pretty well, crossed with a Luxury Tax, and with details worked out by economists smarter than me.
    thanks!

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