Wealth Inequality: Why it will get worse before it gets better

Wealth Inequality in the United States

Wealth inequality will only grow worse in the coming decade. (Robert Reich: The Widening Wealth Divide, Huffington Post) Most economists already know this but are reluctant to inform the general populace. The reason is built right into the above video. Most Americans already show a remarkable lack of awareness regarding the economic and class structures in place in the United States. The true state of affairs is simply beyond most people to truly understand either the scope or the effect of our political policy on this landscape. The economic elite have both the money and power to alter the behavior of businesses, governments, both local and federal and the media systems which provide information to the public ensuring their continued hegemony.

Just a few of the controls used by corporations to further their growth at the expense of everyone else:

  • Avoiding taxation: Yes, large corporations and the very rich are shouldering the burden for the nation’s taxes but since they own 80% of the nations wealth, it makes sense, they should also pay 50% of its tax burden. But with that said, many large corporations pay almost no taxes by using offshore companies, keeping money in foreign banks or utilizing tax havens/loopholes allowing them to reduce their tax obligation.
  • Stagnation of wages: Reducing the value of the work done by actual workers while increasing the value of the work done by managers and executives allows firms to force workers to work for less and fight for jobs while wages are systematically reduced. With politicians reducing options for unions, making states ‘right to work’, off-shoring, out-sourcing and other such tactics erodes the worker’s value while still increasing the profitability of corporations at their workers expense.
  • Leveraging the value of money: Currently the dollar can be borrowed at fantastic rates, allowing companies to purchase smaller firms (thus our recent merger-mania) in order to gain further economic advantage by absorbing intellectual properties from smaller companies. While this is normally encouraged, during difficult economic times, it gives a greater advantage to companies which already have the capital to invest without risk.
  • Control of media: The media is a powerful tool when dealing with the expectations of the public. Control of media agencies gives corporations (and often the politicians they lease) the ability to tailor messages to make themselves appear in a positive light even while they are convincing the people to vote against their own interests, either by making the information too difficult to absorb (i.e. the debt ceiling debate) or wearing people out with the constant bombardment of news coverage until people tune out and are unable to make informed decisions. Media saturation or complete blackouts are both effective ways of allowing corporations to manipulate the mindset of the public.

Here is a twitter-stream and associated documents which expand on this video further in my Storify collection: Wealth Inequality in America

Here are a few of the highlights

The Incongruence of Man

No man is an island

beware the beast man

Incongruence of Man

A Mouse Trap

by Ruchit Doshi

A mouse looked through  the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.What  food might this contain? The mouse wondered… he was devastated to  discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse  proclaimed the warning:

There is a mousetrap in the house!
There is a  mousetrap in the house!

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her  head and said, ‘Mr.Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is  of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.’

The mouse turned to  the pig and told him, ‘There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap  in the house!’

The pig sympathized, but said, I am so very sorry,  Mr.Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in  my prayers.’

The mouse turned to the cow and said, ‘There is a mousetrap  in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!’

The cow said, ‘Wow, Mr.  Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.’

So, the mouse  returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap .  .. . alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house — like  the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer’s wife rushed to  see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake  whose tail the trap had caught.

The snake bit the farmer’s  wife.

The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a  fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the  farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main  ingredient.

But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and neighbors  came to sit with her around the clock.

To feed them, the farmer butchered  the pig.

The farmer’s wife did not get well; she died.

So many  people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide  enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack  in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is  facing a problem and think it doesn’t concern you,

Remember —- when one  of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

We are all involved in this  journey called life..

We must keep an eye out for one another and make an  extra effort to encourage one another.

Remember, each of us is a vital thread in another person’t tapestry; our lives are woven together for a reason. One of the best things to hold onto in  this world is a FRIEND!!!

*  *  *


1. The Incongruence of Man

How can a monster be so magnificent in all that he does?
When creating, masterpieces are born, timeless,
works of art, visions of design, ripped from Logos itself.
When he destroys he rivals Shiva and Kali, ending the existence,
of one and all, with only monuments to ever speak of regret.

How do we reconcile this creature, fearfully made,
fearfully led, fearfully cowering in its own darkness?
Seeking validation, finding none, like the fallen Morningstar
destroying to facilitate a semblance of power, of control
flailing against a universe where no control truly exists?

This is the madness, the dissonance, the incongruence of Man.
Forever seeking, never finding, never willing to understand
that what he seeks, he already has, all he must do is turn to another
and ask.

— John Nox

2. No Man is an Island

These famous words by John Donne were not originally written as a poem – the passage is taken from the 1624 Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions and is prose. The words of the original passage are as follows:

John Donne
Meditation 17
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

“No man is an iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a
peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a clod
bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well
as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy
friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes
me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore
never send to know for whom the bell

You can enjoy other famous literary poems at Famous Poems Online

3. Planet of the Apes

Despite the fact the movies were by today’s standards of science fiction less than perfect, there were occasional moments of terrible brilliance within them. This line, more than anything else in the movie, has never left me.

“Beware the beast man, for he is the devil’s pawn. Alone among God’s primates, he kills for sport, or lust or greed. Yes, he will murder his brother to possess his brother’s land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him. Drive him back into his jungle lair: For he is the harbinger of death.”

The Twenty-third Scroll, Ninth Verse, “Planet Of The Apes”

This quote was found on Cool Quotes Collection.com.

4. Chinese Anti-terrorist Exercise

In this photo released by the official Xinhua news agency, members of China’s armed police demonstrate a rapid deployment during an anti-terrorist drill held in Jinan, east China, on Wednesday July 2, 2008, roughly one month ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games. (AP Photo/Xinhua/Fan Changguo)