Tag Archives | Wealth

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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Why Are Beggars Despised? by George Orwell

Sandra Druschke (CC BY 2.0)

Sandra Druschke (CC BY 2.0)

via Reddit (r/books):

It is worth saying something about the social position of beggars, for when one has consorted with them, and found that they are ordinary human beings, one cannot help being struck by the curious attitude that society takes towards them. People seem to feel that there is some essential difference between beggars and ordinary “working” men. They are a race apart–outcasts, like criminals and prostitutes. Working men “work,” beggars do not “work”; they are parasites, worthless in their very nature. It is taken for granted that a beggar does not “earn” his living, as a bricklayer or a literary critic “earns” his. He is a mere social excrescence, tolerated because we live in a humane age, but essentially despicable.

Yet if one looks closely one sees that there is no essential difference between a beggar’s livelihood and that of numberless respectable people.… Read the rest

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Chris Hedges: Make the Rich Panic

David Shankbone (CC BY 2.0)

David Shankbone (CC BY 2.0)

Over at Truthdig, Chris Hedges writes an impassioned call to action: “destroy the system.” Maybe it’s time…

Chris Hedges writes at Truthdig:

It does not matter to the corporate rich who wins the presidential election. It does not matter who is elected to Congress. The rich have the power. They throw money at their favorites the way a gambler puts cash on his favorite horse. Money has replaced the vote. The wealthy can crush anyone who does not play by their rules. And the political elites—slobbering over the spoils provided by their corporate masters for selling us out—understand the game. Barack and Michelle Obama, as did the Clintons, will acquire many millions of dollars once they leave the White House. And your elected representative in the House or Senate, if not a multimillionaire already, will be one as soon as he or she retires from government and is handed seats on corporate boards or positions in lobbying firms.

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Buried Treasures

There is a certain kind of bookshop, most common in the United States, which specialises in New Age subjects. There are sections on pyramids, fortune-telling, women’s empowerment, and so on, but the one I always make for is labeled “Prosperity.” The books in it are about how to become rich. It is an irresistible subject and many of the books contain useful advice on how to do well, but they all emphasise that if you really want to attract wealth you have to concentrate on it, work and pray for it, think and dream about it, to the exclusion of everything else. This violates the second Commandment (against idolatry), and in any case I have no time for such devotions. So wealth and I remain strangers, which is probably how it was meant to be. beyond secretBut you can easily become rich without having to sacrifice your soul. According to the experts, there are six different ways of acquiring money:

1. By honest work, craft, or trade.

2. By robbing, swindling, or unlawful dealings.

3. By winning it through gambling or lottery.

4. By marrying it.

5. By inheriting it.

6. By finding it.

The first way is the most respectable but it tends to be slow and laborious....
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The Richer You Are the Older You’ll Get

Rupert Murdoch - Flickr - Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer (2).jpg

Rupert Murdoch. Photo by Eva Rinaldi (CC)

No surprise that mo’ money equals mo’ life. From the Wall Street Journal:

Money may not buy love, but it appears to buy years.

Economist Barry Bosworth at the Brookings Institution crunched the numbers and found that the richer you are, the longer you’ll live. And it’s a gap that is widening, particularly among women.

Mr. Bosworth parsed this data from the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study, a survey that tracks the health and work-life of 26,000 Americans as they age and retire. The data is especially valuable as it tracks the same individuals every two years in what’s known as a longitudinal study, to see how their lives unfold.

The good news is that men of all incomes are living longer. Yet the data shows that the life expectancy of the wealthy is growing much faster than the life expectancy of the poor.

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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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What Wealth Does To Your Soul

A poor doctor takes the pulse of a rich, corpulent patient; Wellcome V0011750.jpg

“Getting rich won’t make you happy. But it will make you more selfish and dishonest,” says Michael Lewis at New Republic via The Week:

…What is clear about rich people and their money — and becoming ever clearer — is how it changes them. A body of quirky but persuasive research has sought to understand the effects of wealth and privilege on human behavior — and any future book about the nature of billionaires would do well to consult it.

One especially fertile source is the University of California at Berkeley psychology department lab overseen by a professor named Dacher Keltner. In one study, Keltner and his colleague Paul Piff installed note takers and cameras at city street intersections with four-way Stop signs. The people driving expensive cars were four times more likely to cut in front of other drivers than drivers of cheap cars. The researchers then followed the drivers to the city’s crosswalks and positioned themselves as pedestrians, waiting to cross the street.

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Gimme Nirvana Baby: On the Spiritual Journey of Ash from the Evil Dead Films


Ugh. I’ve desperately tried to write this essay without referring–for the second essay in a row–to my Sunday living habits. They’re really not that interesting, and I understand that. But I’m sorry. Just like the last essay, the origins of this one occur during those existential lulls that seem to characterize a lot of people’s Christian Sabbath.

You see, in my household–after my morning workout– Sunday mornings are reserved for one of two rituals. One, because my wife is a practicing Catholic, we go to mass. Or, two–if we’re too lazy on that particular morning–we lay around in our sweats and my wife watches “Super Soul Sundays” on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Of the two, even though I am a blasphemer, heretic and just an outright nonbeliever, I greatly prefer going to mass, even though it means making the effort to look presentable in public on a Sunday morning and listening to some dweeb in a blouse tell me about how I need to make some more time for gahd/Jesus in my life.… Read the rest

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The Meritocracy is Made Up of Poor People

Photo credit DEA

Photo credit DEA

Paul Buchheit writes at Common Dreams:

Many wealthy Americans believe that dysfunctional behavior causes poverty. Their own success, they would insist, derives from good character and a strict work ethic. But they would be missing some of the facts. Ample evidence exists to show a correlation between wealth and unethical behavior, and between wealth and a lack of empathy for others, and between wealth and unproductiveness.

The poor, along with a middle class that is sinking toward them, make up the American meritocracy. Here is some of the evidence.

1. The Poor Don’t Cheat As Much

An analysis of seven different psychological studies found that “upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals.” A series of experiments showed that upper-class individuals were more likely to break traffic laws, take valued goods from others, lie in a negotiation, and cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize.

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Du Pont Heir Given Probation For Raping Daughter in Hush-Hush Case; Judge Said He Wouldn’t Fare Well In Prison

Pic: State of Delaware (PD)

Pic: State of Delaware (PD)

Du Pont Family heir (and son of a very powerful retired attorney) Robert H. Richards IV received a slap on the wrist in 2008 after he pleaded guilty to raping his three-year old daughter: Eight years probation. The offense is normally punishable by up to 15 years in prison, but Delaware Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden‘s rationale for the extremely lenient sentence was that the 6’4″ 264 lb. millionaire “[would] not fare well” in prison.

Richards’ arrest and subsequent trial was not disclosed by the District Attorney’s office and received no media coverage, locally or nationally. The details of Richards’ case only came to the attention of the public this month after his ex-wife filed a civil suit against him on behalf of their two children. The suit alleges that Richards also molested their son numerous times over the course of two years, beginning when the boy was 19 months-old.… Read the rest

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