The countries of the rich are undergoing some interesting upheavals. Not long ago, OECD (or rich countries) were considered standard bearers of development and by implication wellbeing. After the last major crisis of the global economic system, which goes by the common name of Global Financial Crisis (GFC), inequality between citizens (of a given country in the OECD) rose sharply. Such an unprecedented level of polarization within and between the rich countries has never been witnessed in modern times. Even the heady days of the 1920s were not as polarized economically as today. Here are some numbers from OXFAM illustrating the prevailing reality between the Davos boys and the Deplorable. A year and half ago 43 individuals had more wealth than half of the world’s population (3.8 billion people). Today it is no more 43, but rather 26. In 2018, half of the world’s poor lost 11% of their wealth, while in 2017, 82% of the annually accrued global wealth went only to the top 1%!
The deplorable in the western countries are losing ground and are trying to lose themselves, in stuff that are not healthy. Opioid death is now higher than death from auto accidents in the USA. Life expectancy amongst the middle class white male in American is declining! Family formation is also on a downward spiral, in almost all the rich countries of the world. About half of working Americans (48%) make only $30,000 per year, which cannot be considered a living wage. Pension funds are also in serious trouble. Meeting their obligations to pensioners in OECD/USA has become increasingly difficult. Nonetheless, many pensioners are completely oblivious to this impending life-changing crisis. So far, all kinds of gimmicks were/are implemented to hide the crisis afflicting almost all states of the union in the US. One way or the other, the pension crisis is going to implode. These and other issues are bound to bring the sheeple (human mass) in the so-called rich countries of the world system to the streets. The ‘yellow vests’ in France might well be the precursor of things to come!
After the 2008 financial crisis inequality and polarization accelerated across the globe. The parasitic financial cabals of the world system who run the economic show with their paid politicos, rigged the global system after 2008. The result, the majority actually lost big time, while the very few (less than 1%) prospered. After 2008, crony capitalism became the modus operandi of the system from north to south, from Africa to South America, etc. Ill-gotten wealth and unearned income were celebrated, while hard work was/is maligned. Developing countries like Ethiopia, willy-nilly endorsed such a distorted form of capitalism, where tenderpreneurship, outright embezzlement and all sorts of criminal activities are/were non-chalantly accepted by the ruling elites. The formal state was there only to hoodwink the gullible sheeple into thinking that its voices actually matter. But the naked truth was/is, the ‘Mafiosi States’/Gangsterism became the real governing entity all over Africa and helped implement perverted policies across the continent. The new dictum of the ‘Mafiosi State’ became; wealth is to be stolen not acquired through work and innovation. Thanks to these regimes, extreme poverty is on the increase in Sub-Sahara Africa, yet again. If truth be told, such distortions in Africa have yet to solicit vigorous reactions from the disgruntled sheeple! What we are witnessing on the streets of Zimbabwe, Tunisia, The Sudan, etc. might well become regular occurrences on our continent! Here are more numbers from OXFAM showing the deep divide between the Davos clan and the Deplorable.
‘Mukesh Ambani ranks 19th in the Forbes 2018 billionaire list and is the richest Indian. His residence in Mumbai, a towering 570-foot building, is worth $1bn and is the most expensive private house in the world. 6 Pratima, who lives in a slum in Patna, eastern India, lost both her twins due to delays and scarce resources in her nearest clinic. Poor women like Pratima have to give birth without proper maternal healthcare, leaving them vulnerable to complications, neglect and stillbirth as a result.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is the richest man in the world, with a fortune of $112bn on the 2018 Forbes list. Just 1% of his total wealth is the equivalent of almost the whole health budget of Ethiopia, a country of 105 million people. He recently said that he has decided to invest his fortune in space travel, as he can’t think of anything else to spend his money on.
Zay is a shrimp processing worker in Thailand. The shrimp Zay peels is supplied to large retailers like Whole Foods supermarkets, now owned by parent company, Amazon. At the end of a shift, the exhaustion Zay feels after peeling shrimp for 12 or 13 hours can leave him almost immobile. Zay is lucky if he earns more than $15 in a day.’
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic, it is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness – and if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now, as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself, a marvelous victory.” Howard Zinn. Good Day!