Wealth and Reform
I haven’t read the book Capital by Thomas Piketty, but most of us know about the growing power and wealth of the 1%. That term comes from his book that Paul Krugman sums up in the video below. The information in the video has greatly influenced my current views on our political and economic systems in the US, and thereby most of the world.
Here are their conclusions about wealth.
- The wealthy are getting richer, more entrenched in politics, with a growing income and wealth inequity.
- The US is effectively an oligarchy and our wealth inequality is worse than any other developed country.
- We the people have so little influence on public policy as to be statistically near zero.
- The US has fewer social support systems than most developed countries resulting in more suffering.
- Wealth inequality has turned Washington (ie our government) into a protection racket for the 1%.
- A small tax increase on the top 1% for wealth redistribution would make a huge difference in the quality of life for the bottom 20%.
This video was produced 6 years ago, and sadly the trend continues to get worse for the average person. This is why I occasionally rant against “the system” of big business, special interests, and the wealthy elite. If you accept these conclusions, then most likely our social ills can’t be solved within the current system. Inequality, racism, police brutality, drugs, abuse, social injustice, and environmental degradation are all byproducts of this system that puts so little value on human well being and Earthcare.
Paul Krugman is still hopeful due to the history of our political traditions, but I have lost hope in our manmade systems. It seems change would have to come from revolution, nature, or a system collapse like the fall of the Roman Empire. Here’s an interesting related article, suggesting we might be in revolutionary times. The key is that we must take responsibility, claim the moment, and make intentional choices.
After sitting with this post, I realized that I hadn’t included love and compassion. I’m judging the 1% and not trying to understand them or build bridges of compassion. Working at understanding each other with more love and compassion would certainly help. And if we shared more; each sharing the skills, talents, and resources we have. There are more than enough resources in the world (shelter, food, land, water, money, creativity, and talent) if we shared them instead of hoarding. Maybe we just need to believe in the power of love, people, and intentional choices.
I leave you with this beautiful Pentatonix rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine as inspiration.
May peace, love, and cooperation prevail.