Monday, March 11, 2013

We're ALL in this together!

Not too long ago I read a book by Chrystia Freeland called The Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.

After reading it, I have had the very strong and very agreeable feeling that we can come together in this country of ours, all of us, the reds, the blues, and the greens and everyone who picks out their own hue.

When 1% of the population has 40% of all the wealth we're all of us ALL OF US!!! in the same boat and on the same side. (With the exception of about 1% of the population, and believe me, I don't know any of them.) Like you, probably, I am in the bottom 80% in terms of wealth. Among us 80% we have less than 1/6 of what that top 1% has!  The top 1% have a lot of us hoodwinked into going along. Their media outlets see to that.

Call yourself a Libertarian, call yourself a Republican, call yourself a Democrat, an Independent, or even a Green Party member.  We are pretty likely to agree that we need to redistribute wealth in the United States.

Well, maybe you don't agree. Maybe you like the way wealth is distributed in America today. I wonder if your mind would change if you knew more.

The video below will help you see clearly how wealth is "shared" in the US today.

I hope you will see this video and to share it with everyone you know. It's WELL worth the 7 minutes it takes to see it.

Links: The Plutocrats


Loren said...

As I noted on Facebook, this is why students need to understand math!

Hard to deny graphs, isn't it?

Dan Gurney said...

Yes, Loren. Did you teach math? I love math, even though in kindergarten the math is pretty simple. This presentation of quantitative information is unusually clear, I thought. It is not easy to effectively convey the maldistribution of wealth in the US. It is so difficult to imagine the difference, for example between 1 million and 1 billion. I'm not sure that I can imagine those orders-of-magnitude differences, even with graphs.

But the point here, for me, is that regardless of what you think you are blue or red, it's hard to endorse what we've got here in America.

steven said...

wealth? hmmmmmm . . . when we're talking about money, well, that's all about quantity and in my own understanding the concern is really about quality. the quality of a person's existence. the quality with which we are able to live our lives.
the perception that it's morally unconscionable for a few to have a lot of money and a lot to have a little money is one i share. but i wonder in that perception if pushing money back into the larger group necessarily results in a better quality of living? i am asking rhetorically here dan and not confrontationally . . .

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, steven,

Thank you for your comment. Well, I have no difficulty imagining that taking some of the obscene wealth from the top and reinvesting that wealth towards:

• developing renewable energy
• addressing global warming
• environmental restoration & recovery
• providing high qualtiy health care to all who desire it, including reproductive health care to those who need it
• providing high quality education free through graduate school
• providing shelter for the shelterless who desire it
• supporting artists & musicians
• turning swords to plowshares

These ideas are just for starters, right off the top of my head. I think that spreading some of the wealth that is held by the top 1% of the top 1% would result in a much better quality of living for everyone, including them.

steven said...

i like this thinking dan . . . steven

Dan Gurney said...

Thank you, steven. Of course I think you were suggesting that the devil is in the details in any plan to redistribute wealth. And I would agree that redistributing wealth would be something requiring a lot of great thinking.

That said, I don't have to think very hard to KNOW that what we've got now is completely stupid. Having so much wealth under the control of so few people is JUST PLAIN DUMB. If you see the video in this post you'll see a depiction of the actual reality of wealth inequality. It is hard not to argue that it makes any sense to concentrate the wealth into the wealthiest families and have so little for the bottom 80%.

As a teacher, I see the stress of job insecurity, crappy health care, and parents working more than one job on the faces & in the hearts of the students I teach every day. We live in stressful times, and most of that stress would instantly disappear if we spread the wealth around more evenly.

Imagine a world with:

free health care
free education through graduate school
people working to restore the environment
and so forth.

It is possible. All we have to do is make it impossible to inherit more than, say, $10 million dollars. Let any inheritance above that be taxed at a 100% rate and redistribute it to the now un or underfunded programs we need to have in our country: healthcare, environmental care, education, jobs.