If you think "ruling elites" are a fantasy…think again
Tuesday, 11 October, 2011 Leave a comment
Now I am not suggesting that the US is representative of the rest of the world but I would certainly be curious to know how the UK picture looks! According to Michael Moore circa 400 families in America have more money than the other 300 million!
Hopefully, the “apathy” that allowed this situation to develop is a thing of the past. We were all too busy buying into the consumerist myth of “financial independence” (that was really the DEPENDENCE that fuelled individual (ego) and institutional greed) So, unless “the 99%”, quickly, rediscover the power of INTERDEPENDENCE and utilise the communication tools at our disposal, life in the post-critical society i.e. after the next financial collapse, will make austerity measures look positively appealing!
There are two sets of principles. They are the principles of power and privilege and the principles of truth and justice. If you pursue truth and justice it will always mean a diminution of power and privilege. If you pursue power and privilege it will always be at the expense of truth and justice. Benda says that the credo of any true intellectual has to be, as Christ said, ‘my kingdom is not of this world.’
We could (but don’t have to) go back to the ancient history of Rome or Egypt to learn what lengths elites will go to to avoid loss of wealth and power. More recent events in North Africa and the Middle East demonstrate that elites will inflict considerable physical and financial pain upon the masses even when it is apparent to any rational observer that the cause is lost.
In the past, when once great empires have collapsed and civilisations have been torn apart, the global impact was minimal. No-one knows how the collapse of the financial infrastructure of a truly globalised economy will impact the lives of every person on the planet
Choose a year from some fondly remembered past when the American economy generated broadly shared prosperity. How about 1947? That year, the top 1 percent of U.S. households grabbed a bit less than 12 percent of the nation’s pre-tax income, and the other 99 percent shared around 88 percent of the take. It wasn’t a perfect time, but it was an era when a large middle-class was emerging.
Or maybe you think 1967 was a great time to be an American worker. That year, the top 1 percent grabbed 10.7 percent of the pile, and the other 99 percent divvied up around 89 percent of our income.
Between 1949 and 1979, those at the top never took in more than 12.8 percent of the total. When Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, they grabbed 10 percent of our economic output, and the rest of us shared 90 percent. And that’s when things started to shift, relatively rapidly. In Reagan’s final year in office, the top 1 percent of American households grabbed 15.5 percent of the nation’s income.
By the time George W. Bush was elected, they were taking in 21.5 percent. And in 2007, the year before the crash, they were pulling in 23.5 percent of our pre-tax income, leaving the other 99 percent to share just 76.5 percent of the fruits of our output.
According to Paul Buchheit, a professor with City Colleges of Chicago and founder of fightingpoverty.org, “if middle- and upper-middle-class families had maintained the same share of American productivity that they held in 1980, they would be making an average of $12,500 more per year.” The size of our economy, he wrote, “has quintupled since 1980, and we all contributed to that success. But our contributions have earned us nothing. While total income has also quintupled, percentage-wise almost all the gains went to the richest 1 percent.” This upward redistribution of wealth “translates into a trillion extra dollars of income every year for the richest 1 percent.”