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More of the world's wealth is owned by fewer people -- and our share of the rest of it is collapsing

| January 28, 2016
Image: Flickr/OECD

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The just-released Oxfam Davos Report shows that 62 individuals -- 388 in 2010 -- now own more wealth than 50 per cent of the world's population. More shockingly, it reports from its uncontested public sources that this share of wealth by half of the world's people has collapsed by over 40 per cent in just the last five years.

Yet the big lies persist even here that "the progress has been made in tackling world poverty" and "extreme poverty has been halved since 1990."

This big lie is significant in its implications. For not only is a pervasive claim about the success of globalization falsified while no one notices it, basic market theory and dogma collapse as a result. What does it mean for "trickle-down theory" when, in truth, the trickle down goes up in hundreds of billions of dollars to the rich from the already poor and destitute?  

What can we say now of the tirelessly proclaimed doctrine that the global market brings "more wealth for all" when, in fact, the evidence shows the opposite? For the poor have undeniably lost almost half their share of global wealth while the richest have multiplied theirs at the same time.  

While the ever-bigger lies go on justifying the global system that eats the poor alive as "poverty amelioration," ever more of the same policies of accumulation by dispossession justify still more stripping of the majority as more "austerity," more "welfare cuts," and more "labour flexibility" -- in a word, more starvation and depredation of people's lives and life conditions as "more freedom and prosperity for all."  

As World Bank, IMF and like figures claim to show the uplifting of the poor out of poverty across the world, media of record like The Guardian and The New York Times report the claims with headlines to show all is well and getting better for the poor and the majority.  

In fact, these alleged great gains for the poor are based on income gains of less than a cup of coffee a day, an observation that is so well blocked from view that readers may now be seeing it for the first time. No one appears to observe that the income gains "lifting the poor out of poverty" typically refer to emigrants from the countryside into polluted cities, insecure and dehumanized life conditions for those who formerly had at least a family dwelling, clean air and water and living horizons.  

Beneath the pervasive propaganda conditioning citizens to believe in the private money shell game devouring the world, the poorer half of humanity has been deprived of one trillion dollars of wealth while the 62 richest people have gained almost twice as much for themselves by the operations of this global disorder. Yet the Davos Report further emphasizes that still another USD $760 billion goes annually to non-producing investors by immense transnational tax evasion with impunity across the world.

Here the system is programmed in effect to strip the funding of all public sectors and institutions which have evolved to serve the common life interest. Public services and infrastructures too are perpetually driven towards bankruptcy not only by never-ending defunding, cutbacks, privatizations, and corporate lobby control of public policies and subsidies, but by ever-soaring public tax evasion near one trillion dollars annually about which governments and trade treaties have done nothing to correct yet.

Thus governments which could invest in sustaining humanity's social and ecological life support systems from growing deterioration and collapse are now systematically bankrupted or debt enslaved along with most citizens. In consequence without governments knowing why, the world economy slips into ever deeper recession from the collapse of economic demand at the public and majority levels. This is what drives the Great Recession beneath economist recognition.

Prof. John McMurtry's work has been translated  from Latin America to Japan. He is the author/editor of UNESCO's three-volume Philosophy and World Problems, as well as more recently, The Cancer Stage of Capitalism; From Crisis to Cure.  

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Image: Flickr/OECD



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