By the next year the richest 1% of humankind will possess as much wealth as the remaining 99%. Even today the richest 80 individuals own as much as the bottom half. These numbers are a declaration of war to democracy.
In the beginning of 2015 Oxfam published their recent study on the distribution of wealth on our globe, called Wealth: Having it all and wanting more. The rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer is, of course, no big secret. But it doesn’t change the fact that the numbers presented by Oxfam describe a sheer absurd state.
Extreme concentration of global wealth
Oxfam calculated that just by the year 2016 the richest 1% of humankind will own the same amount of wealth as the remaining 99% combined (sic!). The bottom 80% merely own 5.5% of the global wealth.
Nowadays, the 80 richest individuals on earth own the same wealth as the bottom half of the world population combined. Let this number melt in your mouth: 80 human beings possess as much as 3,600,000,000 human beings. An outrageous disparity!
Five years ago, it required the 388 richest individuals to reach this number. Where should this development lead to? In a couple of years, it will be only a single person to possess as much as the bottom half of whole human kind? Can this concentration of wealth reach an even higher level of shoddiness?
While the savings of millions of small depositors worldwide disappeared into thin air during the recent financial and economic crisis, these superrich 80 people more than doubled their accumulated wealth in the period 2009-2014. In the same time frame the over-all number of billionaires worldwide more than doubled as well.
Remind me, weren’t it these years as well that billions of billions of tax money were pumped into the bail-out of big corporations and banks? So over all, wasn’t it the common bled-dry tax payer that accomplished this obscene growth of wealth of the elite? The idea suggests itself too obviously.
In the US, the 10 biggest banks are subsidized even these days with an annual amount of 83bn $$$. This is permanent thievery, nothing but redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top cast into law.
“For the people, of the people, by the people” in the most powerful nation for a long time exclusively applies to the rich elite on top of the people.
Have your money work for you, have your money kill for you
After a short “lean period”, Bill Gates is the wealthiest individual on the globe again. His accounts display the unimaginable number of 79bn $$$. This is the same amount of the 40 poorest countries’ gross domestic products combined.
What a sick world is this, in which a single human being possesses the same amount of money that 40 entire countries generate in a whole year?
The wealth of the superrich, of course, isn’t hidden under their pillows but invested. You’d like to have your money work for you, right? So these rich people are not only responsible for what their own companies cause, but for the damage done by the yield-designed financial institutions that keep their money as well.
These are for example, investments in nuclear energy, military or other destructive corporations, the slaughtering of whole enterprises by criminal hedge funds (including the firing of thousands of workers), or the speculation on basic foods which tightens the global hunger.
Pointedly formulated, this 1%-elite – that owns as much as the bottom 99% – is involved in the destruction of this planet on a daily basis, for it profits from the exploitation. It is co-responsible for all the wars, for it profits from arms deals and the resource supply that these wars are waged for. It is co-responsible for the death of the 25,000 starved every single day, for it profits from the speculation on rice and corn.
The greed of these superrich emerges from our economic and financial system that creates and rewards ruthlessness and amorality. But it is sheer waste of time and energy to indulge in hate on these individuals because they are only replaceable puppets in this global game on power and wealth. They are too trapped in this cage of compulsions. These compulsions of perpetual growth and ever-increasing yield.
It is merely pointless to accuse these criminals on top of the banks and corporations for personal greed or to put them off their annual bonus achieved by “hard labor”. They cannot change at all. You only reach the top of this pyramid when you act exactly like them. If manager X ruling corporation Y starts doing business in a socially and ecologically sustainable manner he or she would lose the job immediately.
Even though it is quite catchy and intuitively, it is not Bill Gates and his 79bn $ bank account that is the enemy. It is this criminal system that makes it possible at first place that a single human being can gather this obscene amount of money. Who the hack is Bill Gates? He as an individual person is irrelevant for this discussion. The focus must lay on the system he represents: our current neoliberal financial capitalism that ruins planet earth on a daily basis.
Declaring war on democracy
The numbers published by Oxfam are sheer a declaration of war on democracy. If the superrich would only live in their golden bubble champagne slurping they could easily be ignored. Let them swim in their money or decorate their rooms with bills. Who cares?
But, unfortunately, this is not the case because wealth is at every stage going hand in hand with political power.
There is the little business man bribing local politicians to get the job. There are the 20,000 lobbyists located in Brussels making laws on behalf of their corporations. There is the House of Saud ruling Saudi-Arabia as a personal adventure playground. There is the rich elite in the US considering the presidential candidate as an investment, drawing the yield after the election in the terms of political decisions. And, eventually, there is the richest man on the globe who supports the misanthropic corporation Monsanto and exercises influence on the health and agricultural policies of African states via his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Please, tell me, Billy, who democratically mandated you for doing so?
When we allow private property to essentially be involved in political legislation then every commitment to democracy is nothing but hypocritical lip service.
In the western world there is no democracy. The power of wealth has massively eroded democracy. It is long degraded to a nodding-ritual in a four-year-measure.
When we want to live in a system that to some extent deserves the label democracy we have to abolish the omnipresent power of money. I won’t demand any more.
It reads “one (wo)man – one vote” and not “one $ – one vote”, damn it!