Annual income of richest 100 people is enough to end global poverty four times over, says report.
By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JANUARY 21, 2013
Like it or not, money talks and the more concentrated money and power are, the more concentrated wealth and poverty are. The issue is not whether concentration of money, resources and the decision-making process hurts the world. We have plenty of examples from the 20th century to cite in any given conversation. The question that much of the populace is not asking, but that the elites have already answered is how should the wealth move from one pocket to the other.
It is clear that the handful of families that control it all did not acquire it through legal, moral and ethical means. They have accumulated it through decades or perhaps centuries of carefully crafted monopolies. They managed to create and maintain the monopolies of every major human activity and that is how wealth trickled into their coffers for decades.
Despite knowing who are the real wealthy and how they have managed to increase their power and control over the rest of the population, 99.9% of politicians — who openly work for them — continue to act as gatekeepers, telling their represented that the rich are those earning anywhere between $250,000 and $1 million and that those supposed rich people need to pay more taxes to help beat the current economic crisis. That is how the wealthiest are carrying out the largest transfer of money from the middle class and the poor in history.
Inequality has surely grown exponentially, but just as it grew out of control, it could have also been eradicated. Poverty and inequality haven’t been dealt with because the 1% never intended to do so. When talks about ending extreme wealth are held, participants must understand that extreme wealth will continue to exist as long as monopolies are the base of all development models. Those monopolies include those managed by the large corporations as well as the fewer still controlled by governments.
If extreme wealth — when properly utilized — has the potential to end world poverty four times, as the Oxfam report says, it means the world has the tool it needs to end poverty. That leads to look at how poverty can be tackled. As the report correctly points out, the key is addressing inequality, that is, helping wealth go through and to more hands.
As seen during the last decade, the elites are not willing to surrender their monopolies. In fact, they have managed to strengthened them even more, which debilitated the decision-making process at the national level. That is exactly the opposite of what is needed. Real development and real growth — the one not based on fictitious financial products and services — will only come true if countries establish a new, unprecedented way to do business. The new model must include detaching themselves from organizations and groups that handcuffed their freedom to decide their own destiny and to truly govern for their people.
Right now, corporations that work through supranational organizations dictate what policies governments must follow regarding the use of their resources. The same model is followed by international financial organizations which still dictate economic and financial policies to be followed on a global basis. The policies that gave the wealthiest they riches and power was enhanced as supposed to diluted. Under this scenario, there is no way to end poverty and to tackle inequality.
“At a global level, the top 1% (60 million people), and particularly the even more select few in the top 0.01% (600,000 individuals – there are around 1200 billionaires in the world), the last thirty years has been an incredible feeding frenzy. This is not confined to the US, or indeed to rich countries. In the UK inequality is rapidly returning to levels not seen since the time of Charles Dickens. In China the top 10% now take home nearly 60% of the income.”
But inequality is even greater in poorer countries, where leaders are even more likely to accept bribes from corporations and international organizations in order to surrender power and wealth. “Globally the incomes of the top 1% have increased 60% in twenty years. The growth in income for the 0.01% has been even greater,” says the Oxfam report.
Although the current global crisis presented itself as a great opportunity for governments to rethink their ways in which they manage the economy, the last decade has gone by without any significant accomplishments towards ending inequality. In fact, inequality has grown larger to a point where “luxury goods market has registered double-digit growth every year since the crisis hit. Whether it is a sports car or a super-yacht, caviar or champagne, there has never been a bigger demand for the most expensive luxuries.”
Organizations like the International Monetary Fund, the entity that thrived while destroying third world nations by imposing a debt-based development model, warns about the possibility that inequality could lead to civil unrest. But the IMF doesn’t issue such a warning as a call for real change regarding inequality even though one of main consequences of wealth concentration is the destruction of the economic system.
That’s right. Having poverty and inequality is more expensive than having equality, but monopoly men don’t care because they are not the ones who pay the bill. Countries, by accepting economic and financial models that create extreme poverty and inequality, are the ones that end up picking up the tab. If not by taxing the middle class and the poor, governments pay for interests on their debt by giving away land and resources that had otherwise created riches and growth in their nations.
“There quite simply is a limit to how many luxury yachts a person could want or own. Wages in many countries have barely risen in real terms for many years, with the majority of the gains being to capital instead. If this money were instead more evenly spread across the population then it would give more people more spending power, which in turn would drive growth and drive down inequality,” said billionaire Nick Hanauer. That would still keep the 1% at the top, but it would allow the poor and the middle class to climb up leaps and bounds.
Unfortunately, most billionaires do not think like Hanauer. Even though extreme wealth in the hands of a few families depresses demand and limits or even erodes growth, which is what the globalists who make part of the 1% want. They already have everything they have and more, so it is time to stop the rest of the people from achieving the same levels of success. That would eventually represent a potential opportunity for their reign to be challenged. It is precisely from this thought where the elites produced the governance model that drove the world for the last century.
The concentration of wealth has worked pretty well for the elites, who successfully infiltrated government entities to lobby politicians and destroy republics from the inside out. Money and power corrupted the political class, that earlier in history held public office simply to manage the existing simple and effective bureaucratic framework. “In the UK the governing Conservative party receives over half its donations from the financial services industry. Capture of politics by elites is also very prevalent in developing countries, leading to policies that benefit the richest few and not the poor majority, even in democracies,” confirms Oxfam’s report.
But power from the elites hasn’t only been used to buy politicians everywhere. It was also used to drive social divisiveness, racial wars and class warfare. The very fact that more people live in poverty and misery facilitates little or no social mobility, which ensures even more poverty and inequality while enhancing social volatility. Inequality is perhaps the most dangerous disease because it promotes violence, damages mental health, increases crime and destroys societies. That environment is exactly the place where the large corporations owned by the elites thrive the most. Destroyed, identity-lacking societies are fertile soils for insecurity, mass drugging of the people through pharmaceutical products, militarization and surveillance.
An uneven use of wealth and resources also results in the depletion of natural resources, not by the people, as globalists would have us believe, but by the large corporations that exhaust many natural reserves to produce large amounts of trinkets that serve as distractions to enslave the population while causing grave harm to the environment. Poor people or middle class folks are not to be held more responsible for environmental degradation than the oligarch class that abuses the natural resources to manufacture useless junk that no one really needs but that everyone must have. Sustainability, when not hijacked by the fake environmentalist movement that is incidentally supported by the wealthy elites, is a desirable goal as long as it does not keep third world nations from enjoying the benefits already experienced in rich countries, where the largest concentration of wealth is found.
Unequal societies ultimately become immoral. A corrupted, mentally ill population is more likely to conform and accept violence as the new normal. Take Brazil as an example. Few countries in the developing world experience such a high level of inefficiency, corruption and social conformism as Brazil does. One could say that it is in the DNA of most Brazilians and the expected result is mass degeneration.
Unfortunately, reports like the one issued by Oxfam disappoints when it comes to finding solutions to end poverty and inequality. It praises Bill Gates and Warren Buffet for ‘getting rid’ of their fortunes and cites their action as an example for other billionaires, as if we are not aware about the deceit behind their charitable enterprises. It also calls for massive government-sponsored socialist models to hand out free stuff to everyone who wants it. It proposes free money from government when someone is out of work, as supposed to promoting self-government and personal responsibility through savings and proper management of income at the individual level or in the family.
Towards the end, it calls for government regulations and taxation to control extreme wealth. The writers contradict themselves since earlier they pointed out that politicians in government have done nothing else than work for the elites and have been accomplices of the current extreme level of inequality. It is clear that no government has the guts to actually tax the 1% as much as they have the will to tax the middle class and the poor to death. It is hard to see how politicians that helped the wealthy get where they are, will suddenly turn against them.
Oxfam’s report cites progressive taxation as the best tool to carry out a proper redistribution of wealth. Isn’t that Barack Obama’s dream? It is also the future envisioned by Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro and the European cabal that in 2012 successfully gained complete control of the European Union. The report puts Warren Buffet on a pedestal for calling for more taxation of the rich, which really means doing what Obama just did in the United States: imposing more taxes on the middle class, not the 1%. Oxfam wants a globally agreed minimum
rate of corporation tax, which will most certainly be collected by the World Bank or a similar supranational organization with no accountability to the nation-states or the people of the world.
No, extreme inequality will not end by taxing more from anyone. In fact, less taxes results in more money collected. If anyone wants to end extreme poverty the answer is not to provide more power to those who we are all trying to run from, but by ending powerful monopolies that castrate real competition, deplete innovation, stagnate economic growth, destroy small and mid-size business everywhere and accumulate money and resources in fewer hands.
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