Tag Archives | Inequality

The First Major Electoral Victory For The Occupy Wall Street Movement?

p10b…In South Korea, not the United States. The newly elected mayor of Seoul is Park Won Soon, a longtime activist and human rights lawyer who ran on an explicit “Occupy Wall Street platform” of challenging social inequality. Could this happen here as well? Via New Left Project:

Park Won Soon, the newly elected mayor of Seoul, is “perhaps the first politician to win with an Occupy Wall Street platform”.

Park Won Soon ran on a platform of social justice. The previous mayor of Seoul had resigned over the issue of school lunches, Park pushed for the universal provision of lunches to all Seoul school children. He also promised to direct social services to helping the poor and disadvantaged. Korea has become increasingly divided in terms of rich and poor, and Seoul has some of the richest and some of the poorest people in the country. Park pledged to be the mayor of all of Seoul and not just the wealthy.

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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.… Read the rest

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Weeding Out the Psychopathic 1%

HannibalMitchell Anderson writes in the Toronto Star:
Given the state of the global economy, it might not surprise you to learn that psychopaths may be controlling the world. Not violent criminals, but corporate psychopaths who nonetheless have a genetically inherited biochemical condition that prevents them from feeling normal human empathy. Scientific research is revealing that 21st century financial institutions with a high rate of turnover and expanding global power have become highly attractive to psychopathic individuals to enrich themselves at the expense of others, and the companies they work for. A peer-reviewed theoretical paper titled “The Corporate Psychopaths Theory of the Global Financial Crisis” details how highly placed psychopaths in the banking sector may have nearly brought down the world economy through their own inherent inability to care about the consequences of their actions ...
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How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich

An incisive new article by Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone looks back to the ’80s, and describes how Republican Party came to abandon fiscal responsibility in favor of endless tax subsidies for the rich:

The nation is still recovering from a crushing recession that sent unemployment hovering above nine percent for two straight years. The president, mindful of soaring deficits, is pushing bold action to shore up the nation’s balance sheet. Cloaking himself in the language of class warfare, he calls on a hostile Congress to end wasteful tax breaks for the rich. “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share,” he thunders to a crowd in Georgia. Such tax loopholes, he adds, “sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary — and that’s crazy.”

Preacherlike, the president draws the crowd into a call-and-response.

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Israel’s Occupy Movement Achieves Victories

israel-protests-dissent-15-20110903We usually associate the terms “occupy” and “Israel” in a different political context…But, this summer the country saw massive demonstrations (including tent cities) to draw attention to social inequality, in what was arguably a blueprint for Occupy Wall Street. And there have been encouraging results: the conservative Israeli government is shifting more of the tax burden onto corporations and the super-rich. Could this happen in the United States, also? Via GlobalPost:

Israel’s summertime protest movement, which was occupying “Wall Street” before it was cool, can now celebrate their first major tangible success.

At a Sunday cabinet meeting the government approved the restructuring of Israel’s tax system, shifting a few degrees of the social burden onto corporations and the very rich.

On Monday, legislators received the new tax plan for approval, alongside a lengthy list of demands for financial reform and social justice that were nonexistent when the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, was last in session and which have been catapulted to the forefront of a pre-electoral year.

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How The Top 1% Are Reshaping America

Completed a few weeks before the Occupy Wall Street protests began, the latest episode of Al Jazeera's fantastic Fault Lines program takes a hard look at the wealthiest 1% in the United States, including talking to those in the 1% about what their wealth means:
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Occupy George: Fix Your Money

Occupy George is a (presumably illegal) attempt to convey the reality of wealth distribution in the United States to the public by adding pertinent information to paper currency and circulating it as needed. Now your money will have informational as well as purchase value. Download their templates or order the custom stamps, and you can begin minting your own Occupy George bills at home:

Money talks, but not loud enough for the 99%. By circulating dollar bills stamped with fact-based infographics, Occupy George informs the public of America’s daunting economic disparity one bill at a time.

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Here’s How to Screw the Rich

Eat The RichInteresting points from TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington:
Tax the rich. Those bastards. I get why people who aren’t rich hate those that are. No one really cares what they have, they only care what they have relative to others. When there is inequality, and there always is, even the hyper intelligent call for a redistribution of wealth. It’s an enduring longing for us as a species, and no evidence to the contrary will convince people it just doesn’t work in any large group. What I really didn’t understand until recently though is why so many rich Americans seem to loathe their richness as much as everyone else does. Many in Silicon Valley want to tax the rich into the middle class and let government spend and spend and spend. The super rich tech elite flock to Obama, joining in the call to screw the rich as loudly as all the rest. Then I figured it out. As I wrote then, the super rich won’t mind at all if we “tax the rich” as it’s currently defined. That’s because people who are super rich don’t really pay taxes...
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Economic Inequality Promotes Self-Aggrandizement

Richa and Poor

Rich and poor in São Paulo. Photo: Tuca Vieira (CC)

Via ScienceDaily:

Pretty much everybody thinks they’re better than average. But in some cultures, people are more self-aggrandizing than in others. Until now, national differences in “self-enhancement” have been chalked up to an East-West individualism-versus-collectivism divide. In the West, where people value independence, personal success, and uniqueness, psychologists have said, self-inflation is more rampant. In the East, where interdependence, harmony, and belonging are valued, modesty prevails.Now an analysis of data gathered from 1,625 people in 15 culturally diverse countries finds a stronger predictor of self-enhancement: economic inequality.

“We don’t know the precise mechanism, but it seems unlikely that it is primarily an East-West difference,” says University of Kent research associate Steve Loughnan. “It’s got to do with how your society distributes its resources.” The study — whose 19 collaborators represent 16 universities around the globe — will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

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