Income Inequality News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Income Inequality News Articles in Media
Capitalism's recurring tendencies toward extreme and deepening inequalities of income, wealth, and political and cultural power require resignation and acceptance. [It] entails and reproduces a highly undemocratic organization of production inside enterprises. Believers insist that no alternatives to ... capitalist organizations of production exist or could work nearly so well. Of course, alternatives exist. The city of Arrasate-Mondragon, in the Basque region of Spain ... is the headquarters of the Mondragon Corporation (MC). MC is composed of many co-operative enterprises grouped into four areas: industry, finance, retail and knowledge. In each enterprise, the co-op members (averaging 80-85% of all workers per enterprise) collectively own and direct the enterprise. The largest corporation in the Basque region, MC is also one of Spain's top ten biggest corporations (in terms of sales or employment). And MC has expanded internationally, now operating over 77 businesses outside Spain. MC has proven itself able to grow and prosper as an alternative to – and competitor of – capitalist organizations of enterprise. MC worker-members collectively choose, hire and fire the directors, whereas in capitalist enterprises the reverse occurs. One of the co-operatively and democratically adopted rules governing the MC limits top-paid worker/members to earning 6.5 times the lowest-paid workers. In US corporations, CEOs can expect to be paid 400 times an average worker's salary – a rate that has increased 20-fold since 1965.
A World Bank report shows a broad-based reduction in extreme poverty - and indicates that the global recession, contrary to economists' expectations, did not increase poverty in the developing world. The report shows that for the first time the proportion of people living in extreme poverty - on less than $1.25 a day - fell in every developing region between 2005 and 2008. And the biggest recession since the Great Depression seems not to have thrown that trend off course, preliminary data from 2010 indicate. The progress is so dramatic that the world has met the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals to cut extreme poverty in half five years before its 2015 deadline. That is contrary to the World Bank's own expectations. In a year-end 2008 report, the Washington-based development institution warned: "Unemployment is on the rise in industrial countries and poverty is set to increase across low- and middle income countries, bringing with it a substantial deterioration in conditions for the world's most vulnerable." But that did not happen. Surveys for 2010 show that the proportion of people in the developing world living in extreme poverty fell. That is because of strong growth in countries like Brazil, India and especially China, growth that helped buoy economies in Africa and South America.
88 million. That's how many working-age Americans don't have a job and aren't trying to find one. The increase in people dropping out of the labor market altogether skews the otherwise-positive unemployment numbers released last week. While the jobless rate fell to 8.3 percent in January - a three-year low - it doesn't [take into account] this army of nonworking Americans. The percentage of people participating in the labor market dropped to 63.7 percent last month, the lowest level since May 1983.
Note: This one small article reveals an astounding statistic the media and government are all but ignoring. The actual rate of jobless Americans is well over 30%. The U.S. government definition of unemployed covers only those who "do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work."
Inequality in America. It's a subject that's getting more attention in light of the weak economy and the ongoing debate around budget cuts and raising revenues. Billionaire businessman ... Warren Buffett, who has argued in favor of higher taxes on the wealthiest, [discusses] the growing disparity. WARREN BUFFETT: It should be a land of opportunity. But the ... market system has led to extremes. Everybody in this country owes their good fortune in some way to the rest of the country. DAN ARIELY: People don't understand how much wealth the top 20 percent have. They actually have 84 percent of the wealth. And more disturbingly, people don't understand how little wealth the bottom of the distribution have. The bottom 40 percent of the U.S. have about 0.3 percent of the wealth, basically zero. RICHARD FREEMAN: In the last 30 years or so, the share of national [income] -- of income that has gone to the upper 0.1 percent -- not to the upper 1.0 percent -- 0.1 percent -- rose by 10 percentage points. That is one of the most astounding patterns I have ever seen in data. People sometimes say, oh, the rich, it's the upper 10 percent, it's the upper 5 percent. No, no, this is the 0.1 percent. Warren Buffett has this wonderful statement where he says: Yes, there's been a class war in the United States. And my class, namely the super rich people, have won.
Note: For key articles from major media sources on the extreme income inequality in the US, click here.
The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting [in Davos, Switzerland is] a heady power gathering that mixes business, politics and Champagne in the Swiss Alps. It is an event that draws a wide range of [chief executives, government leaders and academics], ostensibly to contemplate how to solve the world’s problems. An invitation to the meeting is supposed to be considered an exclusive honor. But for corporate executives, the cost of being a Davos Man, or, yes, a Davos Woman, even for just a couple of days, does not come cheap. Just to have the opportunity to be invited to Davos, you must be invited to be a member of the World Economic Forum. There are several levels of membership: the basic level, which will get you one invitation to Davos, costs 50,000 Swiss francs, or about $52,000. The ticket itself is another 18,000 Swiss francs ($19,000), plus tax, bringing the total cost of membership and entrance fee to $71,000. But that fee just gets you in the door. To participate in private sessions among your industry’s peers, you need to step up to the “Industry Associate” level. That costs $137,000, plus the price of the ticket, bringing the total to about $156,000.
Note: After attending this event, author David Rothkopf quoted AOL's founder as saying,"You always feel like ... the real Davos is happening in secret somewhere." Might this suggest that Davos is a breeding ground for the secret plots of the global elite? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of news articles on secret societies which manipulate global politics.
The class war that no one wants to talk about continues unabated. Even as millions of out-of-work and otherwise struggling Americans are tightening their belts for the holidays, the nation’s elite are lacing up their dancing shoes and partying like royalty as the millions and billions keep rolling in. Recessions are for the little people, not for the corporate chiefs and the titans of Wall Street who are at the heart of the American aristocracy. They have waged economic warfare against everybody else and are winning big time. The ranks of the poor may be swelling and families forced out of their foreclosed homes may be enduring a nightmarish holiday season, but American companies have just experienced their most profitable quarter ever. The corporate fat cats are becoming alarmingly rotund. Their profits have surged over the past seven quarters at a pace that is among the fastest ever seen, and they can barely contain their glee. On the same day that The Times ran its article about [record corporate] profits, it ran a piece on the front page that carried the headline: “With a Swagger, Wallets Out, Wall Street Dares to Celebrate.” Anyone who thinks there is something beneficial in this vast disconnect between the fortunes of the American elite and those of the struggling masses is just silly. It’s not even good for the elite. The rich may think that the public won’t ever turn against them. But to hold that belief, you have to ignore the turbulent history of the 1930s.
Note: For many reports from reliable souces on corporate profiteering, click here.
For most of the moneyed class, an inquiry into their wealth elicits silence and cringes. Not so with 28-year-old Jamie Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune. For the Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker, wealth is the focus of his life's work. In Johnson's first documentary, Born Rich, he exposed how 10 children from families like the Trumps and the Newhouses spent their time – and their fortunes. Now he turns the camera on his own family in The One Percent. Johnson's documentary ... offers a rarefied view of the scandalously secretive world of "the one percent," a small segment of the U.S. population that owns roughly 40% of the country's wealth. Through a series of interviews with high-profile figures like Bill Gates Sr., U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and economist Milton Friedman, Johnson explores the disparity of wealth in America. Forbes.com: You got your own father, as well as other phenomenally wealthy people, to talk to you. How did you get these folks to open up about such an intensely private topic? Johnson: It wasn't easy. A lot of patience – there was a lot of waiting around. Forbes: I imagine you'll have critics who will call this "rich boy's guilt." What do you say to them? Johnson: That both liberal and conservative economists agree that there is a growing wealth gap, and that it's a problem. It's important to get wealthy people to think about this and think about solving this problem. They are the most influential people in our society and therefore, they should be working on treating this and coming up with a solution.
Note: The films of Jamie Johnson give very rare views into the lives of the upper crust that are incredibly revealing. For another article at CNN on his excellent documentary Born Rich, click here. To see revealing video clips, click here.
It is no secret that the gap between the rich and the poor has grown, but the extent to which the richest are leaving everyone else behind is not widely known. The people at the top of America's money pyramid have so prospered in recent years that they have pulled far ahead of the rest of the population. They have even left behind people making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The share of the nation's income earned by those in this uppermost category has more than doubled since 1980, to 7.4 percent in 2002. The share of income earned by the rest of the top 10 percent rose far less, and the share earned by the bottom 90 percent fell. Under the Bush tax cuts, the 400 taxpayers with the highest incomes - a minimum of $87 million in 2000, the last year for which the government will release such data - now pay ... taxes amounting to virtually the same percentage of their incomes as people making $50,000 to $75,000. From 1950 to 1970 ... for every additional dollar earned by the bottom 90 percent, those in the top 0.01 percent earned an additional $162. From 1990 to 2002, for every extra dollar earned by those in the bottom 90 percent, each taxpayer at the top brought in an extra $18,000. An Internal Revenue Service study found that the only taxpayers whose share of taxes declined in 2001 and 2002 were those in the top 0.1 percent. Some of the wealthiest Americans, including Warren E. Buffett, George Soros and Ted Turner, have warned that such a concentration of wealth can turn a meritocracy into an aristocracy and ultimately stifle economic growth.
The first comprehensive study of the massive pay gap between the US executive suite and average workers has found that the average CEO-to-worker pay ratio has now reached 339 to 1, with the highest gap approaching 5,000 to 1. The study, titled "Rewarding Or Hoarding?," was published [by] US congressman Keith Ellison. Just the summary makes for sober reading. In 188 of the 225 companies in the report’s database, a single chief executive’s pay could be used to pay more than 100 workers; the average worker at 219 of the 225 companies studied would need to work at least 45 years to earn what their CEO makes in one. “Now we know why CEOs didn’t want this data released,” says Ellison, who championed the implementation of the pay ratio disclosure rule as it was written into the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill of 2010. “I knew inequality was a great problem in our society but I didn’t understand quite how extreme it was.” The requirements, long resisted by some of the largest US companies, simply tells companies to identify a median worker and then calculate how much the CEO makes in comparison to that person. According to a recent Bloomberg analysis of 22 major world economies, the average CEO-worker pay gap in the US far outpaces that of other industrialized nations. The average US CEO makes more than four times his or her counterpart in the other countries analyzed. Ellison said the data remains imperfect, as companies are still able to exclude contracted workers from their reporting.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
The cumulative net worth of senators and House members jumped by one-fifth in the two years before the start of this Congress, outperforming the typical American’s improved fortunes as well as the solid performance of investment markets during that time. The total wealth of all current members was at least $2.43 billion when the 115th Congress began, 20 percent more than the collective riches of the previous Congress, a significant gain during a period when both the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose slightly less than 10 percent. Beyond that grand total, the median minimum net worth (meaning half are worth more, half less) of today’s senators and House members was $511,000 at the start of this Congress, an upward push of 16 percent over just two years – and quintuple the median net worth of an American household, which the Federal Reserve pegged at $97,300 in 2016. The financial disparity between those who try to govern and those who are governed is almost certainly even greater than that. Members of Congress are not required to make public the value of their residences and their contents, which are the principal assets of most Americans. Nor are they required to reveal their other assets and debts to the penny, or even close – instead using 11 broad categories of value ... that do a comprehensive job of obscuring what each member is precisely worth.
Note: The above article fails to mention that laws against insider trading do not apply to members of Congress. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality.
More than $8 of every $10 of wealth created last year went to the richest 1%. That's according to a new report from Oxfam International, which estimates that the bottom 50% of the world's population saw no increase in wealth. Oxfam says the trend shows that the global economy is skewed in favor of the rich, rewarding wealth instead of work. "The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system," said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. The head of the advocacy group argued that the people who "make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food" are being exploited in order to enrich corporations and the super wealthy. The study, released ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, was produced using data from Credit Suisse's (CS) Global Wealth Databook. Oxfam said Monday that it is time for the global elite to stop talking about inequality and start changing their ways. "It's hard to find a political or business leader who doesn't say they are worried about inequality. It's even harder to find one who is doing something about it," said Byanyima. Oxfam said that governments should focus on policies that would lead to fairer distribution of wealth and stronger workers' rights.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
The global economy created a record number of billionaires last year, exacerbating inequality amid a weakening of workers’ rights and a corporate push to maximize shareholder returns, charity organization Oxfam International said in a new report. The world now has 2,043 billionaires. The group of mostly men saw its wealth surge by $762 billion, which is enough money to end extreme poverty seven times over, according to Oxfam. According to separate data compiled by Bloomberg, the top 500 billionaires’ net worth grew 24% to $5.38 trillion in 2017, while the world’s richest person, Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos, saw a gain of $33.7 billion. “The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. “The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited.” Oxfam published the report as global leaders, chief executives and bankers arrive in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. Noting that many of the world’s elite say they’re concerned about income inequality, the charity said most governments are “shamefully failing” to improve the matter. Oxfam called on governments to limit shareholder and executive returns, while ensuring workers receive a living wage. It also recommended eliminating the gender pay gap and raising taxes on the wealthy, among other suggestions.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
The world’s richest individuals increased their wealth by a weighty $1 trillion, or about Ł750bn, in 2017. Most of us here in the UK battled stagnant wages [and] rising shop prices. In fact, the figures are quite startling. Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, which measures the wealth of the world’s top 500 people, shows that the richest of the rich controlled a total of $5.3 trillion in 2017, up from an already staggering $4.4 trillion at the same point in 2016. For context, the United States of America - the world’s largest economy - has a gross domestic product of somewhere around $19 trillion. So all in all, not a bad year to be a billionaire. But what does it mean for the rest of us? Back in 2016 ... a group of academics from such esteemed institutions as the University of Oxford, London School of Economics and Cornell University found that as the rich get richer the rest of us get grumpier. The findings were quite clear: in societies where the richest control the majority of the country’s income, the population as a whole is more likely to report feeling “stressed”, “worried” or “angry”. As the rich get richer, they are responsible for pricing certain goods and services out of the reach of the rest of the population – think top schools, the best hospitals and property in particularly desirable locations. And then there’s also a crucial psychological factor that may play a part: seeing the most prosperous becoming even more affluent might make you feel like your chances of moving up the ladder are fluttering away.
Today’s inaugural World Inequality Report shows that income inequality has increased in nearly every country around the world since 1980 – but at very different speeds. Since , the gap between the richest and the rest has surged in the US, while in western Europe it has increased only moderately. In both regions, the top 1% of adults earned about 10% of national income in 1980. Today that cohort’s share has risen modestly to 12% in western Europe, but dramatically to 20% of all income in the US. The good times have rolled especially fast for those at the very top in the US, with annual income booming by 205% since 1980 for the top 1%. But this boomtime at the very top has not benefited the rest of the American population in any measurable way. For the 117 million American adults in the bottom 50%, income growth has been nonexistent for a generation. In western Europe, by contrast, incomes of the bottom half have matched overall economic growth. What explains this dramatic divergence? The US has experienced a perfect storm of radical policy changes. The tax system, which used to be progressive, has become much less so over time. The federal minimum wage has collapsed, unions have been weakened and access to higher education has become increasingly unequal. At the same time, deregulation in the finance industry and overly protective patent laws have contributed to booms on Wall Street and in the healthcare sector, which now makes up 20% of national income.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, and veteran financier Warren Buffett now have a combined wealth of $248.5bn (Ł190bn) which is more than the net worth of the 160 million poorest US citizens, the Institute for Policy Studies think tank said. In its report, the Billionaire Bonanza, IPS found that America’s top 25 wealthiest people now hold [more than] $1 trillion in wealth. “Our wealthiest 400 now have more wealth combined than the bottom 64 per cent of the US population,” the report said. The study found that the median American family has a net worth of $80,000 ... while one in five US households have zero or negative net worth, meaning that their debts are equal to or greater than the worth of their cash and possessions. The figure is higher for people of colour - “underwater households” make up over 30 per cent of black households, and 27 per cent of Latino households. Last month, Forbes reported that it was another record year for the wealthiest people in the world’s richest nation. The minimum net worth required to make into the top 400 list is now a record $2bn, up almost a fifth from $1.7bn just twelve months ago.
Note: Explore also a CNN article titled "America's wealth gap is bigger than ever." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
Environmental pollution - from filthy air to contaminated water - is killing more people every year than all war and violence in the world. More than smoking, hunger or natural disasters. More than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. One out of every six premature deaths in the world in 2015 - about 9 million - could be attributed to disease from toxic exposure, according to a major study ... in The Lancet medical journal. The financial cost from pollution-related death, sickness and welfare is equally massive, the report says, costing some $4.6 trillion in annual losses - or about 6.2 percent of the global economy. The report marks the first attempt to pull together data on disease and death caused by all forms of pollution combined. "Pollution is a massive problem that people aren't seeing because they're looking at scattered bits of it," [lead study author Philip] Landrigan said. Experts say the 9 million premature deaths the study found was just a partial estimate, and the number of people killed by pollution is undoubtedly higher. And there are still plenty of potential toxins still being ignored, with less than half of the 5,000 new chemicals widely dispersed throughout the environment since 1950 having been tested for safety or toxicity. The vast majority of pollution-related deaths ... occur in low- or middle-income developing countries, where policy makers are chiefly concerned with developing their economies. In wealthier countries where overall pollution is not as rampant, it is still the poorest communities that are more often exposed, the report says.
Among politicians, college administrators, educators, parents and students, college affordability seems to be seen as a purely financial issue. The roots of the current student debt crisis are neither economic nor financial in origin, but predominantly social. In 2012, more than 44 million Americans were still paying off student loans. And the average graduate in 2016 left college with more than $37,000 in student loan debt. Student loan debt has become the second-largest type of personal debt among Americans. From 1995 to 2015, tuition and fees at 310 national universities ... rose considerably, increasing by nearly 180 percent at private schools and more than 225 percent at public schools. During the 19th century, college education in the United States was offered largely for free. College education was considered a public good. Students who received such an education would put it to use in the betterment of society. The perception of higher education changed dramatically [as] private colleges began to attract more students from upper-class families. In 1927, John D. Rockefeller began campaigning for charging students the full cost it took to educate them. Further, he suggested that students could shoulder such costs through student loans. Tuition - and student loans - thus became commonly accepted aspects of the economics of higher education. If the United States is looking for alternatives to what some would call a failing funding model for college affordability, the solution may lie in looking further back than the current system.
Note: According to former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, the sharply increasing cost of a college education serves to redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
Tax records are invaluable for the study of economic inequality. Graphs published on the World Wealth and Income Database, for example, show just how ... this information can inform the public debate. The top 1% income share is now closely scrutinised by journalists and policymakers. But if the rich dodge taxes more than others, tax records will underestimate inequality. The key data source used in rich countries to study tax evasion is random tax audits – but these audits do not capture tax evasion by the very wealthy. In our recent study, however, we exploited a massive trove of data leaked from HSBC Switzerland, the so-called HSBC files, to fill this gap. We also made use of the Panama Papers, which last year revealed the identity of the shareholders of shell companies created by the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca. Just as with HSBC, this leak is valuable as it can be seen as a random event and involves a prominent provider of offshore financial services. We combined random audits with these new sources of information to shed light on who really evades taxes. The higher one moves up the wealth distribution, the higher the probability of hiding assets. So what are the consequences for inequality? At the very top of the pyramid, it is much greater than previously estimated. In Norway, where the available wealth data is particularly detailed, the super-wealthy appear to be 30% wealthier than previously though. The share of wealth owned by the top 0.1% increases from 8% to 10%.
Residents in North Carolina are fighting back against one of the state's most prominent industries: hog farming. But the legislation may not be on their side - a group of lawmakers in the state passed House Bill 467 last week, legislation that limits how much residents can collect in damages from hog farms. Hog farms in North Carolina dispose of pig feces and urine by spraying it, untreated, into the air where residents live. In response, nearly 500 of those residents ... from eastern North Carolina, brought a class action suit against Murphy-Brown, the state's largest producer of hogs. The lawsuit has now made its way to federal court. Residents have said the process of waste disposal has caused health problems. Much of the waste disposal affects low-income residents and black communities. "It can, I think, very correctly be called environmental racism or environmental injustice that people of color, low-income people bear the brunt of these practices," [University of North Carolina professor] Steve Wing ... said. "I shut my hog operation down, and I got out of it. And I ... just couldn't do another person that way, to make them smell that," Don Webb, a former pig factory farm owner, told Democracy Now. "You get stories like, 'I can't hang my clothes out.' Feces and urine odor comes by and attaches itself to your clothes." HB 467 ... was passed by both houses of the North Carolina Legislature. The bill would prevent people from recovering damages like those for healthcare bills and pain and suffering.
Note: In 2014, video footage of toxic cesspools around North Carolina farms exposed shockingly lax agricultural waste disposal standards. In response, the North Carolina Legislature passed a law to prevent whistle-blowers from exposing corporate wrongdoing. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.
Iceland will be the first country in the world to make employers prove they offer equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality. The government said it will introduce legislation to parliament this month, requiring all employers with more than 25 staff to obtain certification to prove they give equal pay for work of equal value. While other countries, and the U.S. state of Minnesota, have equal-salary certificate policies, Iceland is thought to be the first to make it mandatory for both private and public firms. The North Atlantic island nation, which has a population of about 330,000, wants to eradicate the gender pay gap by 2022. Equality and Social Affairs Minister Thorsteinn Viglundsson said "the time is right to do something radical about this issue. Equal rights are human rights. We need to make sure that men and women enjoy equal opportunity in the workplace. It is our responsibility to take every measure to achieve that." Iceland has been ranked the best country in the world for gender equality by the World Economic Forum, but Icelandic women still earn, on average, 14 to 18 percent less than men. In October thousands of Icelandic women left work at 2:38 p.m. and demonstrated outside parliament to protest the gender pay gap. Women's rights groups calculate that after that time each day, women are working for free. The new legislation is expected to be approved by Iceland's parliament. The government hopes to implement it by 2020.
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