Oxfam: 85 richest humans own more than all property held by half the rest of the planet


#1

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#2

@doctorow,

great post, can i suggest an edit?

'85 richest people own more than half the world.' is intended to mean

85 richest people own more than half the world ['s people own].

but its very easy to read as

'85 richest people own more than half [of] the world ( ['s assets].)

which may come to pass if bitcoin [unforked] really takes off.


#3

A musical dedication for the lucky 85.


#4

The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, “You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.” --George Carlin


#5

Noting the statement "the 85 richest people own more than half the world", isn't that an incorrect summarization of the article? I took it to mean that the 85 individuals own as much as "the poorest 50%" of the world, which is a very different statement. I acknowledge the inequality of wealth distribution, but 85 people certainly don't own half the planet's wealth. The "poorest 50%" will own way, way less than their per capita share of the wealth.


#6

They're at Davos this week, asking the world's elites to pledge support for progressive taxation; an end to tax-avoidance; an end to financial corruption of legislation and policy; transparency in their own fortunes; universal healthcare, education and social protection; and a living wage for all.

Yeah, good luck with that...


#7

If the 85 richest people in the world gave all of their wealth the poorest 85 people in the world we'd be right back where we were, so stop Attacking the Job Creators and Advocating Class Warfare and {insert other hot button talking points designed to rile up the Joe Bloggs of the world and convince them it is in their best interest to champion policies that dick over people just one rung lower than them on the socioeconomic ladder}.


#8

I think it is just an ambiguous statement,

if 'more than half the world' is read as "half the world's people" it is correct. Like you, I find the more natural reading of 'more than half the world' as meaning more than half of all that is owned. And that doesn't seem to be true. Yet.


#9

I heartily recommend Robert Reich's documentary Inequality for All to anyone who hasn't seen it. It's an informative and eye-opening look at the last thirty years, and what has happened to the middle class in that time. He also looks at what a healthy middle class means to the economy versus the wealth/income disparity we now have. It's really a must see. It's currently out on DVD, and I believe coming to Netflix in February.

http://inequalityforall.com/


#10

I almost feel bad for those ultra-elite, and their apparent lack of historical knowledge at how this tends to end up for them, given enough time...

On second thought, no I don't, and I'm almost positive I'll live to see how all this plays out. builds bomb shelter pops popcorn


#11

It's call hoarding -- considered a disorder when you keep newspapers or used plastic forks, but seen as perfectly normal when the hoarder stashes the Benjamins....


#12

when it has gotten this bad we need to step back and rethink things. it is clear that the current system is broken in some very fundamental ways, to the detriment of the majority of the earths population and to the benefit of a very select few.


#13

policies that dick over people just one rung lower than them on the socioeconomic ladder slightly more than they fuck over said people themselves, 'cause it's all relative.


#14

Oh hell, the policies screw over Joe Bloggs' rung of the socioeconomic ladder, too - they just present them as if they would only affect those below him.


#15

"asking the world's elites to pledge support for progressive taxation"

Perhaps they could be encouraged to emulate the United States, whose top marginal tax rate, low or nonexistent income taxes on the lower third of income earners, and lack of a VAT make its tax system demonstrably the most progressive in the developed world.


#16

A recovering Wall Street moneyman laid it out pretty well in the recent NYTimes article - it's an addiction:


#17

You're kidding, right? You do know that the vast majority of earnings this group profits from are at the cap gains rate and not top-tier income tax rate, right? And that they are demonstrably good at avoiding taxes in general, due to loopholes they lobby for, as well as less legal methods...


#18

Not only does the US have a lower top marginal tax rate than Canada, Japan, Australia, all of Western Europe, and even China, but as mentioned, the real money in the US is from capital gains, which has a lower tax rate than just about anywhere else in the developed world. I'm not sure how that makes it the most progressive in the developed world.


#19

Oh, absolutely. And the children of the people several rungs up over Joe.

And, in fact, lots of people going way up the ladder, although to a lesser degree of endickment, because their businesses suffer from a lack of paying customers, or have trouble getting qualified workers because the schools are screwed.


#20

An article with some good links: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/02/us-taxes-really-are-unusually-progressive/252917/

The "share of taxes paid" to "share of total income" is higher for the rich in the USA, cap gains rates notwithstanding. You can go right here to see that the top 10% of US taxpayers by income provide 70% of tax collections.

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/09in01etr.xls

The reason that many other nations have more generous government services than the USA is primarily that those other countries tax the hell out of their middle and upper middle classes, which is where the real bulk of the USA's untaxed income currently resides.