Today, the Huffington Post reported on a truly stunning fact — a fact that should have the entire planet up in arms and threatening a global revolution.
Based on statistics from Oxfam, the Huff Post reported that: “62 ultra-rich individuals — a list that is primarily made up of men and includes Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, the Koch Brothers and the Walmart heirs — have as much wealth as the bottom half of humanity. Five years ago, it took 388 rich guys to achieve that status.”
This truly mind blowing statistic means that the wealth of those 62 people has increased by an astonishing 44% over the past 5 years, while “the wealth of the bottom half of the world dropped by 41 percent”. It is hard to imagine people tolerating this insanity for much longer, yet the trajectory indicates wealth inequality is going to get much, much worse in an even shorter amount of time.
As global markets again teeter on the edge of meltdown, we can be sure that the ultra wealthy will benefit from collapsing share prices and declining real estate markets — because they always do. When prices collapse, the rich hunt for bargains while the rest of us panic and sell — a purposeful glitch in the market system author Naomi Klein coined ‘Disaster Capitalism‘. This irrational monetary system is now virtually uncontrollable, and benefits only those at the very top. Politicians have little power to regulate global markets and can, at best, act as professional money managers hoping to mitigate the worst effects of capitalism’s insatiable thirst for profit. The latest statistics just show further proof that the system is completely out of control and cannot be sustained for much longer.
This will probably not end well. It rarely does. Extreme wealth inequality has historically been the greatest catalyst for social upheaval, and given we’re reaching levels unseen in human history, one can only imagine the potential repercussions if it is not orchestrated peacefully and purposefully.
As H.G. Wells once said, “Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe.” Catastrophe is clearly looming, so let’s get educated and stop this madness.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.