Income Disparity Threatens to “Unravel Social Contract”

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

The gulf between the rich and the poor continues to grow exponentially and stands to “unravel the social contract in many countries,” according to a report released Monday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 17 out of 22 countries the OECD measured, income inequality has risen steadily for more than three decades and now sits at the highest levels in recent history. The study found the average income of the richest 10% of a population is nine times that of the poorest 10%. The income gap in “traditionally egalitarian countries” like Demark and Sweden rose from 5 to 1 in the 80’s to 6 to 1 today, and in America, the income gap is a staggering 14 to 1.

Inequality in wages and salaries is the largest contributing factor to the rise in income disparity. Other factors include an increase in part time work and declining collective bargaining agreements between workers and employers; disparity between workers with higher technological skills and those without; and regulatory reforms that created mainly low wage jobs.

In the United States, the richest 1% bring home an average of $1.3 million after taxes. The poorest 20% take in just $17,700. During the same period of time (1980–2008), the income tax rate dropped from 70% to 35%. Redistribution of income by taxes and benefits offset less than 10% of market income inequality. While the hours of low wage workers increased by more than 20% over the past decades, overall earnings inequality still rose “moderately” due to the low level of the minimum wage.

Read the full post at Diatribe Media

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  • Redacted

    Frankly, disparity is the foundation of societies. Who is at the top, the bottom, in between.

    I believe we are in for more of the same. We will stand up and shout for reform, but unlike the Kings and Queens who lost their heads when Merchants came to power, who else?

    Who? When the last Merchant loses his head, who will replace him? King? Emperor? General Secretary?

    • Calypso_1

      Androids, genetically hierarchied/specialized humanoid sub-speciation, mind-controlled drones and goats for the computer industy.

      • Redacted

        You may be onto something, but I feel that is a few Revolutions down the line.

    • MoralDrift

      True, but the issue is that as the old saying goes “the rich are getting richer, and the poor poorer” Whether or not we will repeat the cycle is irrelevant, equilibrium will be sought

  • Suddenly Spam!

    Frankly, disparity is the foundation of societies. Who is at the top, the bottom, in between.

    I believe we are in for more of the same. We will stand up and shout for reform, but unlike the Kings and Queens who lost their heads when Merchants came to power, who else?

    Who? When the last Merchant loses his head, who will replace him? King? Emperor? General Secretary?

  • BuzzCoastin

    it’s not income disparity
    that’s the problem
    it’s quality of life disparity

    even if you took all the 1%’s assets
    and distributed them equally
    we’d all get a buck or two
    after legal fees, of course

    let the 1% squirrel away all that fake money
    just assure that the 99% have access to food, shelter, clothing (optional,) internet access and
    the Bill of rights
    and then play Monopoly all ya like
    just don’t kill us for monopoly money

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    it’s not income disparity
    that’s the problem
    it’s quality of life disparity

    even if you took all the 1%’s assets
    and distributed them equally
    we’d all get a buck or two
    after legal fees, of course

    let the 1% squirrel away all that fake money
    just assure that the 99% have access to food, shelter, clothing (optional,) internet access and
    the Bill of rights
    and then play Monopoly all ya like
    just don’t kill us for a profit

  • Anonymous
  • Nunzio X

    We need Italian Spiderman to right this wrong.

  • Nunzio X

    We need Italian Spiderman to right this wrong.

  • Anonymous

    Androids, geneticaly heirachied/specialized humanoid sub-speciation and mind-controlled drones.

  • Hadrian999

    the income disparity is just as bad for the elite as it is for the poor in the long run. comfortable people don’t fight revolutions, a guy with a high def on the wall and the nfl tv package and a steak on the grill doesn’t take to the hills. by broadening the income disparity the elite are removing barriers to violent revolution

    • MoralDrift

      I agree…but I think it would be better if we ditched the HDTV’s and instead built quality social infrastructure…ok maybe some HDTV’s but I really think that the techno-daze is starting to wear off for many people, especially those facing eviction, foreclosure, unemployment etc…. But yeah I agree with the sentiment, just that it would be nice if with the grill and flat screen came *ahem* for lack of a better word…”social security”

  • Hadrian999

    the income disparity is just as bad for the elite as it is for the poor in the long run. comfortable people don’t fight revolutions, a guy with a high def on the wall and the nfl tv package and a steak on the grill doesn’t take to the hills. by broadening the income disparity the elite are removing barriers to violent revolution

  • Liam_McGonagle

    To me the most offensive facet of the current regime of income disparity is the utterly boring character of the dynamic underlying it.

    Those few 1%-ers who haven’t outright inherited their excess achieved it, essentially, through paper shuffling.  OWS has brought this to the public’s attention only recently, so it still appears that large portions of the public don’t quite understand that socializing losses through a highly skewed and unregulated financial market is not a productive activity.

    At least in the high Middle Ages elites justified their position by excluding the majority of the population from military service.  Call it brutal and barbaric, but it at least approached conceptual symmetry that elites spent more time murdering each other than their tennantry, who, if considered to be little more than chattel, were still property worth protecting.  A crude concept of “noblesse oblige”, but an obligation all the same.

    Instead we’re left with unimaginative imbeciles and cowards with absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever.  God, what I wouldn’t give to see an edged-weapon cage match between the Koch brothers and Jamie Dimond.

    • MoralDrift

      couldn’t agree more. It is the insanity of it all. 

      “this is your lot in life, you will slave away in the service economy. Your job is to serve other servants while the elite trade worthless fictions. We will participate in this charade until the ecology of our planet is so warped that all life ceases to exist, unless sooner extinguished by nuclear war; the causes of which will have nothing to do with anything but elites competing over power….power over trinket making, burger flipping, bathroom cleaning…wage slaves, just like yourself the world over.”

  • Anonymous

    To me the most offensive facet of the current regime of income disparity is the utterly boring character of the dynamic underlying it.

    Those few 1%-ers who haven’t outright inherited their excess achieved it, essentially, through paper shuffling.  OWS has brought this to the public’s attention only recently, so it still appears that large portions of the public don’t quite understand that socializing losses through a highly skewed and unregulated financial market is not a productive activity.

    At least in the high Middle Ages elites justified their position by excluding the majority of the population from military service.  Call it brutal and barbaric, but it at least approached conceptual symmetry that elites spent more time murdering each other than their tennantry, who, if considered to be little more than chattel, were still property worth protecting.  A crude concept of “noblesse oblige”, but an obligation all the same.

    Instead we’re left with unimaginative imbeciles and cowards with absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever.  God, what I wouldn’t give to see an edged-weapon cage match between the Koch brothers and Jamie Dimond.

  • m1kesa1m0ns

    Another term for “social contract” is the Middle Class. it exists as a sort of conciliatory gesture from the upper classes- a conduit by which the lower class may get into a comfortable zone from which it isn’t constantly calling for the blood of the rich. If you look at graphs of what’s happening to the middle class, it looks like a zipper being slowly unzipped. With no conduit to higher incomes from the lower eschelon, hell yes there will be an unraveling of the social contract.

  • m1kesa1m0ns

    Another term for “social contract” is the Middle Class. it exists as a sort of conciliatory gesture from the upper classes- a conduit by which the lower class may get a leg up and get into the upper classes. If you look at graphs of what’s happening to the middle class, it looks like a zipper being slowly unzipped. With no conduit to the higher incomes from the lower eschelon, hell yes there will be an unraveling of the social contract.

  • m1kesa1m0ns

    Another term for “social contract” is the Middle Class. it exists as a sort of conciliatory gesture from the upper classes- a conduit by which the lower class may get a leg up and get into the upper classes. If you look at graphs of what’s happening to the middle class, it looks like a zipper being slowly unzipped. With no conduit to the higher incomes from the lower eschelon, hell yes there will be an unraveling of the social contract.

  • DeepCough

    Here’s what really makes the Social Contract unravel: reading the fine print and realizing it was all a scam from the get-go.

  • DeepCough

    Here’s what really makes the Social Contract unravel: reading the fine print and realizing it was all a scam from the get-go.

  • DeepCough

    Here’s what really makes the Social Contract unravel: reading the fine print and realizing it was all a scam from the get-go.

  • Suddenly Spam!

    You may be onto something, but I feel that is a few Revolutions down the line.

  • Anonymous

    I agree…but I think it would be better if we ditched the HDTV’s and instead built quality social infrastructure…ok maybe some HDTV’s but I really think that the techno-daze is starting to wear off for many people, especially those facing eviction, foreclosure, unemployment etc…. But yeah I agree with the sentiment, just that it would be nice if with the grill and flat screen came *ahem* for lack of a better word…”social security”

  • Anonymous

    True, but the issue is that as the old saying goes “the rich are getting richer, and the poor poorer” Whether or not we will repeat the cycle is irrelevant, equilibrium will be sought

  • Anonymous

    couldn’t agree more. It is the insanity of it all. 

    “this is your lot in life, you will slave away in the service economy. Your job is to serve other servants while the elite trade worthless fictions. We will participate in this charade until the ecology of our planet is so warped that all life ceases to exist, unless sooner extinguished by nuclear war; the causes of which will have nothing to do with anything but elites competing over power….power over trinket making, burger flipping, bathroom cleaning…wage slaves, just like yourself the world over.”

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