Global Wealth Disparity Page 2

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  • monkman76 18 Apr 2013 08:31:24 3,923 posts
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    80:20 is just a distant pipe dream at this stage!
  • jellyBelly 18 Apr 2013 08:33:30 354 posts
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    I would also add that with the advent of the internet/information economy individuals that control massive servers i.e, google/hedge funds etc can accelerate their privileged positions even more and skew the distribution even more by virtue of their massive information collection and number crunching.

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  • cubbymoore 18 Apr 2013 08:41:16 36,468 posts
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    And they pay no tax! It'd be alright if they paid their fair share.
  • jellyBelly 18 Apr 2013 08:44:49 354 posts
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    damn right

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  • ZuluHero 18 Apr 2013 08:56:03 4,018 posts
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    I'm a little bit hung over this morning and might not be reading this information correctly, but that article isn't about the personal wealth of people, like distribution of income, rather what assets people own, such as land, houses, property etc.

    So for instance, you say that ~30% of these things are owned by 91k of people, that would account for leaders, royalty and governments of all the countries in the world.

    Like it says in the article, "the world distribution of wealth is much more unequal than that of income.", I don't own land, and I only own half a house, as do most other people in the world, hence the skewed figures.

    Panic over.

    Edited by ZuluHero at 08:56:44 18-04-2013
  • monkman76 18 Apr 2013 09:12:03 3,923 posts
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    Not sure what you're saying there. It's OK for ~30% of the world's wealth/resources/stuff/call it what you will to be owned by an infinitesimally small group of people as long as some of them also have (explicit) political power?
    And that won't count stuff owned by 'the government', like say a national park, as that is then effectively owned by the people of that country and therefore is presumably counted in the 99%-odd group's pot.
  • Deleted user 18 April 2013 09:14:07
    Two years ago, a German friend sent me a pdf version of this article:

    The Great Divergence

    Though it deals with the growth of wealth and income inequality in the United States, some of its findings might be relevant to other countries as well. The author's conclusion is:


    Here is a back-of-the-envelope calculation, an admittedly crude composite of my discussions with and reading of the various economists and political scientists cited thus far :

    -- Race and gender is responsible for none of it, and single parenthood is responsible for virtually none of it.

    -- Immigration is responsible for 5 percent.

    -- The imagined uniqueness of computers as a transformative technology is responsible for none of it.

    -- Tax policy is responsible for 5 percent.

    -- The decline of labor is responsible for 20 percent.

    -- Trade is responsible for 10 percent.

    -- Wall Street and corporate boards’ pampering of the Stinking Rich is responsible for 30 percent.

    --Various failures in our education system are responsible for 30 percent.
    Edited by EndlessSolitude at 09:15:29 18-04-2013
  • ZuluHero 18 Apr 2013 09:28:20 4,018 posts
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    @monkman76

    I'm just saying that 99% of the world doesn't own land or assets, this doesn't mean that many of them are poor or at the breadline, which is sort of what's being implied. If you look at the distribution of income, the figures are far more palatable (you'll have to do this by the country you live in).

    I'm not sure what happens with the distribution of national parks and such, but at a guess I would think its very similar to common land. The misnomer here is that everyone owns common land, whereas what it actually means is that everyone has been given rights to use the land for certain things, but is still actually owned by someone. (historically a lord or something).

    Like I said, I don't really own anything to my name (apart from a healthy bank balance and half a house), but certainly nothing discernible enough to make an impact on those figures. The same as 99% of other people.

    Edited by ZuluHero at 09:38:29 18-04-2013
  • monkman76 18 Apr 2013 09:39:31 3,923 posts
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    ZuluHero wrote:
    Like I said, I don't really own anything to my name (apart from a healthy bank balance and half a house)
    Actually this is what puts you (and everyone else posting in this thread, at least over their lifetime if not right now) in the top 1 or 2%, and separates you (and us) from 98-99% of the rest of the world. Those figures happen to lump us into the bottom 99.9%, but actually as I say we're all in the top 1-2%, it just hasn't split those numbers out.

    Anyway, income is just a slice of overall personal wealth. You can't separate land you own, assets etc from personal wealth, they're part of the overall picture.

    The point is that a tiny tiny proportion of the world owns virtually all the spending power. Be that as income, savings, investments, land, cars, TVs, or biscuits.
  • kalel 18 Apr 2013 09:41:21 86,261 posts
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    I think it's a reasonable point that wealth isn't necessarily a measure of quality of life. I met some guys in Africa who slept on the beech every night and lived off fish in the sea that they caught, and occasionally sold when they needed clothes etc. They were basically homeless and had no money at all, but they were very happy with their situation and were taking the piss out of me for working all day.

    Admittedly this is one anecdote and these guys far from represent a large group of people, however, it's a very Western Capitalistic view that "wealth" = "quality of life".
  • monkman76 18 Apr 2013 09:48:09 3,923 posts
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    @kalel I completely agree, which is why I think a more even spread of wealth would be beneficial for everyone, not just those at the poorer end of the scale.

    On the other hand for every happy fisherman there's a man willing to abandon his family and risk his life crossing the Strait of Gibraltar to get into Europe, because if he stays where he is he can't afford to feed all his children.
  • kalel 18 Apr 2013 09:49:50 86,261 posts
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    If I had less money, I wouldn't be happier because I'd be working less, if that's what you're suggesting...
  • Armoured_Bear 18 Apr 2013 10:02:20 10,251 posts
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    kalel wrote:
    I think it's a reasonable point that wealth isn't necessarily a measure of quality of life. I met some guys in Africa who slept on the beech every night and lived off fish in the sea that they caught, and occasionally sold when they needed clothes etc. They were basically homeless and had no money at all, but they were very happy with their situation and were taking the piss out of me for working all day.

    Admittedly this is one anecdote and these guys far from represent a large group of people, however, it's a very Western Capitalistic view that "wealth" = "quality of life".
    Yep, I agree with this.
    I met lots of very happy people in places like Madagascar who live simply off a small piece of land in basichousing that Westerners would look down their noses at, they eat well, have good social lives, beautiful nature all around and are happy. Is that poverty?

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  • elstoof 18 Apr 2013 10:03:23 6,598 posts
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    It's divvied up that way because at some level that how we want it to be. People are aspirational by nature, they want to do better than the people immediately around them so that's how the pyramid of wealth remains that way. Once someone jumps into the bracket above them they typically want to stay there, it's called growth. You can argue a case for communism but there's still someone at the top doing well while the masses queue up for their daily turnip rations at the mining facility.

    If you're that worried about wealth divisions then that implies that you're actually doing better off than a very large percentage of humanity because you're looking at this 0.001% percentile with jealous eyes, expecting them to spread it your way but do very little of spreading your luxury to the billions of people in poverty.
  • monkman76 18 Apr 2013 10:03:43 3,923 posts
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    @Armoured_Bear
    No, that's not poverty.

    You're right, it's a myth. Sorry.

    Edited by monkman76 at 10:03:59 18-04-2013
  • monkman76 18 Apr 2013 10:07:28 3,923 posts
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    elstoof wrote:
    It's divvied up that way because at some level that how we want it to be. People are aspirational by nature, they want to do better than the people immediately around them so that's how the pyramid of wealth remains that way. Once someone jumps into the bracket above them they typically want to stay there, it's called growth. You can argue a case for communism but there's still someone at the top doing well while the masses queue up for their daily turnip rations at the mining facility.
    There isn't only
    a) a grotesque imbalance as we currently have and
    b) communism

    Slightly less of an imbalance, while still light years away from communism, would IMO be desirable.


    If you're that worried about wealth divisions then that implies that you're actually doing better off than a very large percentage of humanity because you're looking at this 0.001% percentile with jealous eyes, expecting them to spread it your way but do very little of spreading your luxury to the billions of people in poverty.
    All of us in this thread are in the top 1 or 2% globally. I'm not jealous of the 0.0001%, I just think the world would be a better place if they had less and the 98% below me had more.
  • kalel 18 Apr 2013 10:08:05 86,261 posts
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    I'm not sure people are aspirational by nature. I think that's largely a Western/Capitalist thing.

    Just to add a little balance to my story of the African fishermen, I also saw plenty of women in the same area who seemed to have horrific lives carrying water and food for miles with children on their backs and cooking, cleaning and generally doing everything while their husbands fucked about on the beach, so there's two sides to that one...

    Dunno. There's definitely a problem with the global wealth divide. ABsolutely not denying that. At the same time I think you need to allow for the cultural significance of money to a degree as well.
  • TheBlackDog 18 Apr 2013 10:11:15 365 posts
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    RelaxedMikki wrote:... The only interpretation would seem to be that 99.9% of us (which would include me, you, our doctor, our MP, and most bankers and footballers, basically every single person you have seen and will see in your entire life) are working for the benfit of a tiny elite.
    I know you are already relaxed, but relax a bit more. Its only numbers. Surely we are only working to produce the things we NEED to live and the things we WANT to use. Doesn't matter what the numbers say, somebody has got to do some physical work, at least until we get to a future like that of the Culture novels by Iain Banks.

    So a relatively small number of people don't need to work ? Well if you could change the numbers so that small minority were economically induced to work/contribute to production of goods/services, that wouldn't change the fact that more or less the same amount of people would still need to be slaving away.

    I think the more important issues related to these kind of numbers is inequality between countries and levels of absolute poverty. The issue about how every person in any country can have "enough" of whatever it is they need to live healthy happy lives (balance between material stuff and non-material stuff, like leisure time, culture, etc).

    Still, in light of the massive population explosion happening over the next few hundred years, and potential resource shortages, future generations are sort-of fucked anyway.
  • elstoof 18 Apr 2013 10:20:09 6,598 posts
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    I would consider tribe's hunters to be competitive with each other to get the social reward of a higher status amongst his peers to be aspirational. Countries had fiefdoms and emperors long before they shiny coins.

    Anyway, what were these people who suffer horrible lives carrying water etc doing before the western world developed its monetary systems to compensate people of their time given to you for work? I don't think the way of life in these societies has declined as a result of our industrialisation per se, these people were self sufficient before otherwise they would have died out. People benefited in the west from working the system to their favour and globalisation has caused these two different worlds to collide.
  • disusedgenius 18 Apr 2013 10:24:14 5,195 posts
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    Graveland wrote:
    Whereas before many people worked for themselves they now work for companies who view them little more than assets.
    Didn't they use to work for the landowners instead?
  • Armoured_Bear 18 Apr 2013 10:25:22 10,251 posts
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    monkman76 wrote:
    @Armoured_Bear
    No, that's not poverty.

    You're right, it's a myth. Sorry.
    I'm not claiming poverty is a myth, my point is that people who we think of as poor can often live well and happily.
    Not being able to feed your family or shelter them from harsh elements is "real" poverty to me, not having western luxuries isn't.

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  • kalel 18 Apr 2013 10:25:32 86,261 posts
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    Sorry, I'm struggling to follow your post.
  • Armoured_Bear 18 Apr 2013 10:32:05 10,251 posts
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    kalel wrote:
    Sorry, I'm struggling to follow your post.
    I'm making an arse of it but I think what I'm trying to say is that people from the West tend to confuse relative poverty with absolute poverty when looking at poorer countries.

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  • twelveways 18 Apr 2013 10:34:31 3,844 posts
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    I met a farmer in Mongolia, he had no teeth, his clothes were rags and he lived in a tent with his six children and all of his personal belongings, the most valuable of which was a shitty old tv and a satellite dish. He invited us in for some strong alcoohlic concoction and cheese. I felt uncomfortable, 1st world guilt I guess, I had never seen such poverty before but all of his family were smiling and happy.

    I later found out that his herd was worth about 2 million USD.

    Not sure exactly what my point is but I guess it is something like we shouldn't judge people because they don't have what we have, they probably just don't need/want it.
  • kalel 18 Apr 2013 10:38:40 86,261 posts
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    Armoured_Bear wrote:
    kalel wrote:
    Sorry, I'm struggling to follow your post.
    I'm making an arse of it but I think what I'm trying to say is that people from the West tend to confuse relative poverty with absolute poverty when looking at poorer countries.
    I actually meant elstoof.

    I'm sort of agreeing with you. As I say, I don't think there's necessarily a direct correlation between "money" and "quality of life". That's not to say they aren't often related and the global wealth divide is a very important issue indeed, but I'd be interested to see some sort of "quality of life" divide if such a thing were possible.

    I think such things do exist and I seem to remember Scandinavian countries always doing very well.
  • monkman76 18 Apr 2013 10:40:57 3,923 posts
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    kalel wrote:
    I think such things do exist and I seem to remember Scandinavian countries always doing very well.
    Yes, and lo and behold, they have among the most equal societies in the world (again, still a long way from communism, in case I need to emphasise this again!).
    edit - sounds like I'm arguing your point kalel - I'm not, just using it to back my own up.

    Edited by monkman76 at 10:42:21 18-04-2013
  • Stefansen-W 18 Apr 2013 10:42:21 46 posts
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    Many factors affect the wealth and prosperity of a people.I mention only a few

    -Climate
    -Geographical proximity with other peoples
    -Population genetics
    -Famines and pestilences
    -Factors of randomness of events

    If I had to attribute to them a value of incidence, I would say:
    -Climate 20%
    -Geographical proximity with other peoples 10%
    -Population genetics 30%
    -Famines and pestilences 30%
    -Factors of randomness of events 10%
  • LeoliansBro 18 Apr 2013 10:43:00 43,170 posts
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    ...population genetics?

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • monkman76 18 Apr 2013 10:44:12 3,923 posts
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    elstoof wrote:
    Anyway, what were these people who suffer horrible lives carrying water etc doing before the western world developed its monetary systems to compensate people of their time given to you for work? I don't think the way of life in these societies has declined as a result of our industrialisation per se, these people were self sufficient before otherwise they would have died out. People benefited in the west from working the system to their favour and globalisation has caused these two different worlds to collide.
    As just one example, what about communities that are displaced and basically moved somewhere else to rot when a western mining company moves in?
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