FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Age of Inequality

by Russell Mokhiber And Robert Weissman

Here’s the latest evidence of the startling growth of income and wealth inequality, in the United States and around the world:

The Washington Post’s Ceci Connolly reports this week on the development of a new innovation in healthcare delivery: “boutique” or “concierge” coverage for the world’s super-elite.

Leading medical providers like the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore are establishing special programs to give platinum service to the well-heeled. Depending on the program, the super-rich customers may receive massages and sauna time along with their physical, housecalls, and step-to-the-front-of-the-line service in testing facilities.

Using these services are a worldwide elite class of business executives and royalty — the “winners” in a system of corporate globalization that is generating morally repugnant economic disparities.

Here are some other measures of the gains of the wealthy:

* Executive pay at top U.S. corporations climbed 571 percent from 1990 to 2000.

* There are presently nearly 500 billionaires worldwide.

* U.S. corporate tax payments are slated to drop to historic lows as a result of the tax bill enacted into law earlier this year. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, corporate taxes will plummet to only 1.3 percent of U.S. gross domestic product this year, the lowest since fiscal 1983, and the second lowest level in the last 60 years.

* More than half of the tax cuts enacted last year that are scheduled to take effect after 2002 will go to the best-off 1 percent of all U.S. taxpayers.

Even in the United States — the nation that is supposed to be the biggest winner from globalization — the average person has watched skyrocketing executive compensation and wealth accumulation, but has not been able to climb even a few steps up the economic ladder. Average real wages in the United States are at or below the wage rate of 1973.

Meanwhile, poverty remains pervasive in both the United States and around the world.

* One in six children in the United States live in poverty.

* In 2000, a full quarter of the U.S. population was earning poverty-level wages, according to the Economics Policy Institute.

* Around the world, 1.2 billion persons live on a dollar a day, or less.

* Tens of millions of children worldwide are locked out of school because their parents are unable to afford school fees.

* More than a million children die a year form diarrhea, because their families lack access to clean drinking water.

The Institute for Policy Studies has sought to put these disparities into perspective. The 497 billionaires in 2001 registered a combined wealth of $1.54 trillion, according to IPS, well over the combined gross national products of all the nations of sub-Saharan Africa ($929.3 billion) or those of the oil-rich regions of the Middle East and North Africa ($1.34 trillion). “This collective wealth of the 497 is also greater than the combined incomes of the poorest half of humanity,” IPS concludes.

It’s not very easy to wrap one’s mind around the inhumanity of these numbers.

That is why it is so important to highlight anecdotes that put the problem in focus: the juxtaposition of concierge healthcare with the more than 40 million people in the United States who have no health insurance coverage at all, the contrast between the boutique care and the more than a million children dying each year because they don’t have clean water to drink.

Sometimes, we need to recognize obscene social arrangements for what they are, and demand something different.

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor. They are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1999.)

(c) Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

 

 

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail