Tag Archives | Inequality

Energy Revolution Is Possible… And It Would Only Take 782 Rich People To Pay For It

"It is a gross injustice that .000015% of the global population hold the kind of wealth that could halt a climate disaster, but instead often exacerbate the problem." (Image: FOEI)

“It is a gross injustice that .000015% of the global population hold the kind of wealth that could halt a climate disaster, but instead often exacerbate the problem.” (Image: FOEI)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams.

The personal fortunes of just 782 of the world’s wealthiest people could power half the world—Africa, Latin America, and “most of Asia”—with 100 percent renewable energy within 15 years, according to a new report to be published Monday.

Broken down by continent, it would take the wealth of just 53 rich people to power all of Africa, and a mere 32 prosperous people could plug in the vast majority of Latin America.

Though the analysis from Friends of the Earth International (FOEI), a copy of which was shared withCommon Dreams ahead of its release next week, does not argue “that the wealth of these particular individuals can or should be directly used to drive the needed energy transformation,” the figures do reveal “a gross injustice” when it comes to global inequality that should serve as “a shocking and stark reminder that the finance for an energy transformation is certainly available.”

However, the report points out: “The political will to drive the transformation is, on the other hand, shockingly absent,” as evidenced by “weak pledges of emission reductions”issued ahead of COP21 climate change negotiations scheduled to begin later this month.… Read the rest

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New 2015 Wealth Data: U.S. Inequality at its Ugliest

(Photo: Riccardo Romano/cc/flickr)

(Photo: Riccardo Romano/cc/flickr)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams.

Bernie Sanders showed his outrage about inequality at the Democratic Debate, and more and more Americans are understanding his message. Indignation is likely to grow with new data from the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook, which reveals the wealthy elite’s continuing disdain for the poor, for the middle class, and for people all around the world.

Some of the most troubling disparities are hidden in the myriad tables of this remarkably comprehensive publication. The purpose here is to translate the numbers into wealth gap realities that victimize the great majority of Americans. Details can be viewed at You Deserve Facts.

1. At the Bottom: Of the Half-Billion Poorest Adults in the World, One out of Ten is an American

That seems impossible, with so many extremely poor countries, and it requires a second look at the data, and then a third look.… Read the rest

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Half of world’s wealth now in hands of 1% of population – report


Is anyone really surprised?

Jill Treanor via The Guardian:

Global inequality is growing, with half the world’s wealth now in the hands of just 1% of the population, according to a new report.

The middle classes have been squeezed at the expense of the very rich, according to research by Credit Suisse, which also finds for the first time that there are more individuals in the middle classes in China – 109m – than the 92m in the US.

“Middle class wealth has grown at a slower pace than wealth at the top end,” said Tidjane Thiam, the chief executive of Credit Suisse. “This has reversed the pre-crisis trend which saw the share of middle-class wealth remaining fairly stable over time.”

The report shows that a person needs only $3,210 (£2,100) to be in the wealthiest 50% of world citizens. Some $68,800 secures a place in the top 10%, while the top 1% have more than $759,900.

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Stephen Hawking says we should be more frightened of capitalism than robots

He’s getting a lot of flak for not having a good understanding of economics, but could it be that Stephen Hawking just isn’t afraid to throw stones in a glass house? CNET describes the fallout from his reddit AMA:

In a Reddit Ask Me Anything session, Hawking offered a new disturbance in an answer to a long question about technological unemployment.

the hawk

“If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed,” he wrote. “Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution.”

Some might almost see this as a hope for technological socialism. However, Hawking observed: “So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.”

Many have debated and will continue to debate whether technology really does drive inequality or whether people adjust to new circumstances and new ingenuity brings new markets and new jobs, ones previously unforeseen.

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Breakfast of Gentrifiers at the Cereal Killer Café

cerealIf you want to protest against inequality and the (lack of) affordability of housing as relentless waves of gentrification price residents out of traditional working class neighborhoods, naturally you’d want to attack the post-modern breakfast haunt of the invading hipsters, right? From Citylab:

London’s gentrification debate has taken a bizarre turn in the past week. On Saturday night, demonstrators staging an impromptu anti-displacement protest in heavily gentrified East London cut loose and attacked a local landmark, daubing it with paint. Curiously, their chosen target wasn’t a new skyscraper or luxury apartment development. It was a café. One that specializes in selling cereal.

The choice of the Cereal Killer Café as target might seem odd, but the protest has clearly struck a chord. The U.K. media has been debating it furiously all week, while as a Londoner my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been so dominated by the story I’ve honestly been a little reluctant to go near my computer.

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Automation and Income Inequality: Understanding the Polarisation Effect

robot child

This article originally appeared on Philosophical Disquisitions

(Previous Entry)

Inequality is now a major topic of concern. Only those with their heads firmly buried in the sand would have failed to notice the rising chorus of concern about wealth inequality over the past couple of years. From the economic tomes of Thomas Piketty and Tony Atkinson, to the battle-cries of the 99%, and on to the political successes of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Bernie Sanders in the US, the notion that inequality is a serious social and political problem seems to have captured the popular imagination.

In the midst of all this, a standard narrative has emerged. We were all fooled by the triumphs of capitalism in the 20th century. The middle part of the 20th century — from roughly the end of WWII to 1980 — saw significant economic growth and noticeable reductions in inequality.… Read the rest

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It’s not a lack of self-control that keeps people poor

The Sleeper
When considering poverty, our national conversation tends to overlook systemic causes. Instead, we often blame the poor for their poverty. Commentators echo the claim that people are poor because they have bad self-control and therefore make nearsighted choices. But psychology research says the opposite might be the case: poverty makes it hard for people to care about the future and forces them to live in the present.

As a researcher who studies goals and motivation, I wanted to know how self-control works and if science can help us get better at it. Poverty seemed like a good place to start, because greater self-control could be especially helpful there. In fact, the federal Administration for Children and Families is adding character-skills training to its programs in efforts to improve self-control among children.

But as I started this work I was surprised by all the reasons that it’s so hard for people in poverty to have good self-control.… Read the rest

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Joe Stiglitz: How to Solve Inequality, if Anyone Will Listen

"Joseph E. Stiglitz - cropped" by File:Joseph E. Stiglitz.jpg: Government of Thailandderivative work: LK (talk) - File:Joseph E. Stiglitz.jpg. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons.

Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons.

This is an interesting interview, via Gawker:

Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and author of The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them, is one of the world’s most influential thinkers in the battle against economic inequality. He’s trying hard to remain optimistic. But it ain’t easy.

Gawker: Have you seen progress on inequality since the financial crisis and the Occupy movement made it a mainstream issue?

Joseph Stiglitz: What I’ve seen, I would say, is progress in the discussion. It has moved up to the mainstream, with people in both parties talking about it, all the presidential candidates, and that’s obviously a major step forward. If anything, I suppose, inequality in some dimensions has gotten worse. There have been a few steps forward—the raising of the minimum wage, the number of cities passing local minimum wages.

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Children in Some Communities Have Higher Rates of PTSD than Veterans

india sad
Emily Watson writes at Alternet:

In his 22 years of teaching high school English to East Oakland’s teenagers, Jeff Duncan-Andrade has witnessed kids and their families struggle through all kinds of trauma. He has seen how the constant, unrelenting stress – what researchers are now calling toxic stress – that comes from housing, employment and food insecurity, as well as continued violence in the neighborhood, visits a punishing impact on students and how they learn.

These experiences led Duncan-Andrade, some years ago, to begin looking for ways to better support students and their families — to show students they were valuable members of a community and worthy beyond their test scores. Buoyed by the belief that it is essential to provide kids with the most basic supports (food, shelter, safety) before they can learn, in early August Duncan-Andrade opened the doors of the Roses in Concrete Community School, incorporating his philosophy of involving parents and families to lift up the whole community.

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The Evidence Keeps Pouring In: Capitalism Just Isn’t Working

G20 April 1st

To followers of Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan, and to all the business people who despise government, ‘community’ is a form of ‘communism.’ Even taking the train is too communal for them. Americans have been led to believe that only individuals matter, that every person should fend for him/herself, that “winner-take-all” is the ultimate goal, and that the winners have no responsibility to others.

To the capitalist, everything is a potential market. Education, health care, even the right to water. But with every market failure it becomes more clear that basic human rights can’t be bought and sold like cars and cell phones. The pursuit of profit, when essential needs are part of the product, means that not everyone will be able to pay the price. Some will be denied those essential needs.

Global Failures

Capitalism hasn’t been able to control runaway global inequality. For every $1.00 owned by the world’s richest 1% in 2011, they now own $1.27.… Read the rest

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