In case you've had trouble understanding why Metro Justice has chosen to focus on wealth inequality in our Fight for Economic Justice, a recent report by Oxfam should make it clear. The 85 richest people in the world currently have more wealth than the lower half of the world population. Yep. You heard that right, there are 85 people in this world that have more wealth than a combined 3.5 BILLION people!
Even more frightening is that the real cultists to capitalism in our media don't actually think this is a problem, but something to be celebrated.
Kevin O'Leary from CBC thinks this is wonderful news. So, let's take a slightly deeper look at what exactly it is that he thinks is so great.
In our world today, we have a very small handful of people with networths of incredibly high amounts. Take Warren Buffet, with a combined wealth of $32.7 billion. In 2010 he made $62 million. Let's says he works a full work week, something I personally doubt. That means he makes $29,000 per hour! That's $500 per minute. Or $8 per second. Meanwhile the minimum wage in the United States still stands at $7.25 an hour. Is one second of Warren Buffet's work really worth more than an hours work from thousands of workers in our country?
Meanwhile, if we look towards the poorest in the world, we see obscene poverty. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 870 million people suffer from chronic undernourishment. Nearly 20,000 people die per day due to starvation. Another 18,000 children die every day from curable disease.
In Rochester, hundreds are homeless every night. Hundreds more don't have proper access to health care. Hundreds more barely get by after struggling to pay the rent.
Concrete policy decisions have led us to this degree of economic inequality, and it's obscene. The erosion of the social safety net, the destruction of unions, tax breaks for the rich, free trade, and systems of corporate welfare and mass handouts to the rich have led us here.
But we shouldn't only worry about the problems associated with poverty that come from mass wealth inequality. We need to always remember that wealth inequality is one of the greatest threats that the notion of democracy can face. With mass concentration of wealth comes mass concentration of power. Wealth inequality at these scales is a sign of eroding democratic institutions and increasingly authoritarian systems of governance and economics.
There is no more important time for us to push back than now. Get involved in the Fight for Economic Justice today!