Tag Archives | Inequality

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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It’s time to redraw the world’s very unequal knowledge map

If you map the world by scientific research output, things look rather uneven. From www.worldmapper.org

If you map the world by scientific research output, things look rather uneven. From www.worldmapper.org

If the world were mapped according to how many scientific research papers each country produced, it would take on a rather bizarre, uneven appearance. The Northern hemisphere would balloon beyond recognition. The global south, including Africa, would effectively melt off the map.

This image makes a dramatic point about the complexities of global inequalities in knowledge production and exchange. So what is driving this inequality and how can it be corrected?

Money matters

Money and technology are needed to produce research. The average research and development intensity – that is, as a percentage of GDP – was 2.4% for OECD countries in 2009. But few developing countries had reached 1%. Without sufficient national funds, researchers must spend a great deal of time fundraising and dealing with grant organisations outside their universities. This means less time for actually undertaking and producing research.… Read the rest

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Poverty and Mental Health: A Chart

There appears to be a connection between poverty and mental health problems. According to Dylan Matthews at Vox:

But the reality is that poor Americans are much more likely to face mental health problems than rich ones. This chart, put together by the Huffington Post’s Jonathan Cohn and Cameron Love using data from a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, shows that 8.7 percent of people living in poverty exhibited signs of “serious psychological distress” when polled from 2009 to 2013. But only 1.2 percent of people with incomes of four times the federal poverty level or higher did:

huffpo_mental_illness

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Mental health care access for teens improving, but less for communities with disparities

infographic_healthcareavailability2014

Click to enlarge

University of Michigan Health System via EurekAlert:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Teens in the U.S. have more availability of mental health care than they did two years ago, according to a new survey from the University of Michigan National Voices Project, but access is not equal in all communities.

The University of Michigan National Voices Project was commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to facilitate a five year study to gauge opportunities for children and teens at the local level in communities across the U.S. The National Voices Project surveys over 2,000 adults across the U.S. who work and/or volunteer on behalf of children and teens.

In a 2014 National Voices Project survey, 40 percent of adults said teens in their communities had lots of availability for mental health care. In a 2012 survey, only 30 percent of adults reported lots of availability. In comparison, 59 percent of adults in 2014 said that teens had lots of availability for primary care.

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Learning from Limbaugh

(Photo: Brett Tatman/cc/flickr)

(Photo: Brett Tatman/cc/flickr)

Christopher Brauchli writes at Common Dreams:

“At length I recollected the thoughtless saying of a great princess, who, on being informed that the country people had no bread, replied, ‘Let them eat cake.’’” Jean Jacques Rousseau, Confessions

In 2008 Rush Limbaugh was paid $38 million. In 2014 Rush Limbaugh earned $66 million. For terrestrial navigation he drives, among other things, a Mayback 57S that costs $450,000 fully loaded. For celestial travel he flies in a Gulfstream G550 that cost $54 million.

April 2015 was noteworthy for reasons having nothing to do with the income tax. On April 19, 2015, Dan Price, the CEO of a company called Gravity Payments, a credit card processing company located in Seattle, Washington, announced that he was cutting his own salary and raising the minimum annual salaries for everyone in his company to $50,000 immediately and over the next three years, years, to $70,000.

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#BaltimoreUprising isn’t just about Baltimore

As unrest continues in this broken and beaten down city, if we simply look at the events leading up to the Freddie Gray incident, we see a pattern – a pattern that is noticeable nationwide. A pattern of robbery, racism, injustice and inequality. Freddie Gray is the tip of the iceberg but this corruption runs deep – from TPP to FTP. #RiseUp

Watch the full episode: http://youtu.be/asonJ3tEJFw
@ActOutOnOccupy
facebook.com/ActOutOnOccupy
occupy.com/actout

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Believing That Life Is Fair Might Make You a Terrible Person

Bryon Lippincott (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Bryon Lippincott (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Oliver Burkeman writes at the Guardian:

If you’ve been following the news recently, you know that human beings are terrible and everything is appalling. Yet the sheer range of ways we find to sabotage our efforts to make the world a better place continues to astonish. Did you know, for example, that last week’s commemorations of the liberation of Auschwitz may have marginally increased the prevalence of antisemitism in the modern world, despite being partly intended as a warning against its consequences? Or that reading about the eye-popping state of economic inequality could make you less likely to support politicians who want to do something about it?

These are among numerous unsettling implications of the “just-world hypothesis”, a psychological bias explored in a new essay by Nicholas Hune-Brown at Hazlitt. The world, obviously, is a manifestly unjust place: people are always meeting fates they didn’t deserve, or not receiving rewards they did deserve for hard work or virtuous behaviour.

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Dear Cities of the World: Please Stop Trying to Copy Dubai

Lars Plougmann (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Lars Plougmann (CC BY-SA 2.0)

So, the results are in for the recent elections in Nigeria (I’m sure everyone was paying close attention), and the big winner is Muhammadu Buhari. Last week, Buhari, who has already served as Nigerian head of state (albeit as a dictator, not an elected president), defeated incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan. His luck was bound to run out at some point.

The elections have drawn a fair amount of international attention for a number of reasons. First of all, democratic elections in Africa (such as they are) are sadly something of a rarity. Endless progressions of military coups have been the dominant status quo for many of these countries since the bad, old days of European colonialism. Second, Boko Haram, Nigeria’s resident sect of religious wackos, has been doing its best to be as evil as possible lately to suck up international headlines.

There’s also the fact that Nigeria has become increasingly important to Africa as a whole.… Read the rest

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Richest 1% Will Control Half of Global Wealth by 2016

The unprecedented rise of the wealthiest one percent has been massive news in the United States, but it’s a global phenomenon. The charity Oxfam has released a new study indicating that by next year the richest 1% of people will control half of the world’s wealth. Don’t expect them to stop there, of course.

oxfam fig 1

“In 2014, the richest 1% of people in the world owned 48% of global wealth, leaving just 52% to be shared between the other 99% of adults on the planet.1 Almost all of that 52% is owned by those included in the richest 20%, leaving just 5.5% for the remaining 80% of people in the world. If this trend continues of an increasing wealth share to the richest, the top 1% will have more wealth than the remaining 99% of people in just two years, as shown on Figure 2, with the wealth share of the top 1% exceeding 50% by 2016.”

Oxfam fig 2

[Full report available from Oxfam]

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American Wealth Gap Climbs To New Record

Income inequality in the United States continues to surge, with the wealth of upper-income households rising to nearly seven times that of middle-class ones, reports the Los Angeles Times:

The wealth gap between middle- and upper-income households has widened to the highest level on record, says a new report.

Using the latest Federal Reserve data, the Pew Research Center said Wednesday that the median wealth for high-income families was $639,400 last year — up 7% from three years earlier on an inflation-adjusted basis.

For middle-income families, the median wealth — that is, assets minus debts — stood at $96,500 last year, unchanged from 2010.

The result is that the typical wealth of the nation’s upper-income households last year was nearly seven times that of middle-class ones. By Pew’s calculations, that is the biggest gap in the 30 years that the Fed has been collecting statistics from its Survey of Consumer Finances.

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