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How Inequality Is Killing Off Humanity

How Inequality Is Killing Off Humanity

Paul Buchheit

They're making it nearly impossible to reverse the deadly effects of an unnaturally unequal society, in part because they're no longer connected to the world beyond their estates.

"And then there's the stock market, more than tripling in value since the recession, repeatedly reaching record highs, with almost all of the gains going to the richest 10%." (Photo: NoHoDamon/Flickr/cc)

At the moment, I see Idiocracy as being our more likely fate than outright collapse. The fish rots from the head as the saying goes; the “head” is indeed rotten [and spoiled rich]. Given that, here is a dose of irony:

“they blame the poor for being poor.”

The premise for this blame is that there is so much wealth in America, that all anybody has to do is reach out, show some gumption, get off their arse, etc. and grab it; i.e., there’s enough for everybody to be wealthy, so you MUST be lazy and pathetic if you aren’t rolling in dough.

But if that’s true, why are they so focused on a domestic policy that is designed to take away what little the poor still have? They sure seem to be anxious about losing a pittance to help pay for social programs that their own rhetoric says wouldn’t make a dent in their accounts at all.


It is time for a wealth tax and much higher income tax on earnings over $1 million a year. The “household net worth” in the U.S. has doubled since January 2009, from $48 trillion to $96 trillion (nominally). The annual federal budget was $3.9 trillion in 2016, in comparison. So total private wealth goes up by $5.3 trillion a year for 9 years. Maybe we could tax some of those gains? What does that money do, how is it useful to society? Is it useful? The average wealth per adult is about $400,000, but the median adult owns about $50,000, and about a third of all adults have virtually zero. How can we be so rich and so poor? Is their a “we” in this picture? Not really. It’s all about “them”. The New York Times has some articles about how inequality is tearing apart government in Mexico. Vigilantes are taking control, but they serve mostly the wealthiest who fund them. Murder in Mexico is very high. Inequality is destroying that nation of 120 million people. Social disruption is coming our way too. It is amazing how well concealed from the public this issue is. My blog, Economics Without Greed, http://benL8.blogspot.com


What a nice send-off for a heaping tax cut for the extremely wealthy, eh.

Number 1 Threat to the global economy: Inequality. We don’t hear about it because they don’t want anyone to know it. Bring Dylan Ratigan or Phil Donahue back to MSNBC, that’d be a good start. Otherwise the MSM is useless.

Begin at 1.50

1 Like

Yes! Let’s keep that good ole peace and prosperity mantra alive as it desecrates the entire planet being viewed as an economic disposable resource!
Let’s keep those shareholders happy and work on equality as the very LIFE of this earth hangs in the balance from capitalism, class system politics, and GDP Golden Calf worship.
EVERYONE should have a larger piece of a rotting pie, in a system of economic growth that is killing the oceans and dependent marine life, poisoning waters upon which ALL life relies, extracting entire layers of the earth and exploiting the living world like John’s to distressed prostitutes… And all the while let us bow to the Creation and call ourselves a civilized species, as we perpetuate the environmental collapse of the earth, for economic equality and justice for ALL!! At the very least, go freaking vegan for Gd’s sake.

I appreciate Buchheit’s ongoing focus on inequality. He always includes useful facts in his pieces.


how is it possible, in an article about survival bunkers and what issue is considered the most important, to say NOTHING about climate catastrophe? Inequality is important in its own right just like other issues, but it’s mainly important right now because it’s keeping us from addressing what really is the most important and urgent issue in the world now and for the foreseeable future–probably many generations. We need to become more equal to stop those who have used money and power to remove themselves from normal feedback systems, because they’re causing climate cataclysm and we need to solve that immediately if we want civilization to survive.

I don’t know what kind of energy production and storage system every one of those bunkers has, but I don’t think they’re going to be burning coal or dung down there. The hypocrisy (or psychopathy) of setting up a personal alternative energy system for the end times while spending hundreds of millions lying to the public with denial about the climate crisis as well as the main solution, clean safe renewable energy–that’s flabbergasting. These people deserve to be shut up in their bunkers with only a cask of Amontillado for the rest of eternity while the rest of us–the sane people–go about setting up a society than can withstand the coming dark age.

Buchheit needs to talk about reality beyond economics.


The notion we’re living in a meritocracy is one of the greatest propaganda tools used by the uber-wealthy to maintain their position. It appeals to a selfish element in all people, the part that would overide their social and community instincts for the sake of atomised self-promotion, automatically putting individuals in competition with each other and breaking these otherwise co-operative social bonds, where, united in concern for each other, they could achieve a more benevolent society in the interests of all. The consequence is the creation of class systems, massive wealth disparity and the maintaining of the unjust status quo. The entire system only exists because of this flaw in our own characters and the sociopathic uber-wealthy are, in that respects, our own karma, the ultimate, endgame product of capitalism.

Your “Even if the super-rich survive for a while in their bunkers, they may walk out into a world that can no longer keep them alive” is so true—but for a reason that you don’t mention: The strong possibility that “runaway climate change” is now underway, and will render our species extinct soon (as early as 2021?: http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/04/10c-or-18f-warmer-by-2021.html). The rich seem to be “possessed” by a psychology that makes them oblivious to the fact that we humans are a PART OF Earth System. Also, “The business-oriented mainstream media is keeping people in the dark” . . . about the threat to numerous species—including ours—posed by global warming.

Now if our “leaders” continue to PROMOTE those activities that cause global warming, and not only choose to IGNORE the implications of doing so, but prevent (through their control of the media) others from LEARNING about this threat, it’s INEVITABLE that our species will go extinct, and “soon”: One ignores the workings of Earth System at one’s peril!

And we are supposed to prevent the end of Life On Earth with nonviolent protests?