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Now Just Five Men Own Almost as Much Wealth as Half the World's Population


#1

Now Just Five Men Own Almost as Much Wealth as Half the World's Population

Paul Buchheit

Last year it was 8 men, then down to 6, and now almost 5.


#3

So it's OK for 5 men to own almost as much wealth as half the population, is that what your trying to say?


#4

The rich have never been richer, everyone else is stagnating, and this you think the collectivist nightmare is crashing down. Dude, your collectivist nightmare is just getting started. Hope you like torches and pitchforks.


#5

No one is forced to buy from Amazon, have an iPhone, drink Coke, go on Facebook or use Windows. I manage to pretty much avoid four out of five.

If you don't want them to be rich, don't buy their products. Unlike governments, none of these people held guns to people's heads and said "your money or your life".

What Bucheit naturally fails to say is that while the rich may be getting richer, everyone is getter richer.

In 1980, 44% of the world lived in extreme poverty. For 2015, the projection is 9.6% - https://ourworldindata.org/extreme-poverty/ However, those statistics don't happen to support the particular ax he has to grind.


#6

Your brain is truly f**ked up! Our Congress, enabling Steve Jobs, subverted our patent laws. They were originally put in place for a reason. Do you have a family? Do you protect them? What do you think a society is? Why do you fight what is good for the commons and society?


#7

I think the point Paul is trying to make is that most of the rich exploit others to amass their great fortunes. I would much rather see someone get rich off alternative energy, cleaning up the oceans, better ways to get people to recycle, etc, etc.


#8

Capitalism, in general, has been very successful when it comes to producing large amounts of wealth. Never in the history of mankind have we lived in a world of such an abundance of wealth. Where capitalism fails is in its ability to distribute that wealth to those who need it. Many families are short on food, housing, education, and transportation, but it is not because there is a shortage of these things that many have to go without. The truth is very simple, if you can’t pay, you can’t play.


#9

I applaud the rich getting that way. However, when they design the tax laws to avoid paying their fair share as a percentage of income, that's a multi-billion $ problem, yo.


#10

Yes - it is absolutely true that the world has made great gains in reducing extreme poverty and improving public health (the link you shared or doing your own investigations at Gapminder.org, where you can play with the data more directly, show that conclusively). Interestingly though, this is all in support of what Mr. Bucchheit is saying in the article not against it as you suggest. Have a look at where the gains against poverty and for health outcomes occurred over time. You will find that it is those economies where extreme inequality was allowed that stagnated with respect to those poverty and health improvements seen in the rest of the world.
Look at when public education became universal in different countries and see what happened to the poverty rate after that.
Look at when public funded health are became universal in different countries and see what happened to health outcomes after that.
Then look at when the top 1% had more than 20% of the income in various countries (or more than 40% of the wealth) and see what happens to poverty and health outcomes after that.


#11

mcsandberg, I think you are ignoring the most important issue....

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory... Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea - God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

-- Elizabeth Warren


#12

The wealth transfer trajectory we have been on for the past four decades ends with the 1% owning everything and the 99% owning nothing. Those of us who have managed to keep our heads above water to date will find it harder and harder to do so as the oligarchy continues to enrich the 1% at our expense.


#13

So this is the libertarian dream world then, McSandberg? Five men who will eventually have all the money in the world while the rest scramble and fight over the crumbs? Why not just an Emperor of the World who owns it all, and the rest of us serve him at his convenience? I guess since everyone has an "equal opportunity" to bleed others for their own enrichment that it's their fault that they put humanity and the good of all above their own needs.

What mostly irritates me about the libertarian argle-garble is this idea that everyone has "the same opportunity." If you really believe that just anyone can overcome dire poverty, racism, and social stigma just because they want to, then you are truly in a world of make believe. Yes, the occasional black man from the ghetto succeeds in becoming rich based on an incredible athletic talent, but how many of them are there, and how many go on to be trillionaires and the heads of international corporations?

Not everyone is as morally and ethically bankrupt as a Bill Gates or a Donald Trump. You don't have to be especially intelligent to get rich, you just have to hold everyone else in extremely low regard and be willing to sacrifice others desires and lives to your own dream of accumulating wealth beyond anyone's need.

And then to claim that you "earned it"? You "earn" by working hard for something, not just by being the best cheater.


#14

“The more extensive, finally, the pauperized sections of the working class and the industrial reserve army, the greater is official pauperism. This is the absolute general law of capitalist accumulation.” - Karl Marx

As we get poorer, they get richer!


#15

That is a demonstrable delusion.
In the spirit of 'grant me one miracle on which to float my premise, and I will give you the 'world´. Its target, so painfully obviously, is the 'straw man' of "the collectivist" as if that were an antithesis to a model that is crashing in slomo - precisely as a result of the dinnylaaand model of oikos - otherwise known as economics.


#16

'Pharaoh shrugged'! This article points to a basic flaw of 'Who got the most' Capitalism. If so much wealth is concentrated in so few hands then it eventually becomes plateaued and stabilized to the point of fossilization. In light of this semi permanent stratification where a few own practically 'everything' and everybody else doesn't, Warren Buffet suggests that the few give way much of their wealth when the final stock market bell peals! Otherwise all that wealth is fixed in time and place in the hands of the very few.

The author points out that it is those who are most skilled in acquiring wealth who end up with it even though others were more directly responsible for creating the inventions and the actual paths along which money flowed. Did Zuckerberg or Bezos create the internet that is essential for their acquiring wealth? What if someday a new invention which they cannot use themselves for acquiring more wealth begins to diminish their fortunes through competition? Think fossil fuel versus solar. Exxon and the Saudis have long attempted to stall and delay the adoption of non fossil fuel energy production.

When Pharaoh owned everything, there was nobody that could compare with Pharaoh. Meanwhile Egyptian civilization, technology and its way of life remained virtually the same for five thousand years. Nothing changed ...ever!

If the end game of immense wealth is to have it all, a similar restriction of innovation and change will naturally occur simply in the process of maintaining that wealth. Ask the Koch brothers!


#17

There seem to be two main warring philosophies in the world today: Oligarchy, the conservative's philosophy and Democracy, the liberal's philosophy.

Oligarchy is entropy, a gradual decline into disorder, deterioration, degeneration, crumbling, decline, degradation, decomposition, breaking down and collapse. It is a cancer that grows without limit and consumes the host.

Democracy is negentropy, structure, sustainable growth, creativity and improvement. It leads to a healthy, diverse natural equilibrium.

Direct Democracy


#18

They have taken credit, along with their massive fortunes, for successes that derive from society rather than from a few individuals. It should not be any one person's decision about the proper use of that wealth. Instead a significant portion of annual national wealth gains should be promised to education, housing, health research, and infrastructure.

This is the essence of class conflict. Either we choose some form of socialism as a society (which will require a massive nonviolent revolution) or we will be left with the status quo: neo-totalitarian capitalism and global imperialism.


#19

Based on what I've read of his, his point is that he thinks that anyone richer than he is must be evil. More than any other columnist here, he seems to be motivated by envy, and the notion that rather than find ways to increase everyone's wealth, it's more important to tear down anyone with more.


#20

To paraphrase Churchill, it's the worst system, except for all the other systems. While it is inefficient, it has done more to improve global standards of living and increase global wealth than any other system.


#21

Frankly, Elizabeth Warren is full of crap.

If you look at income tax rates,

the top 1% earn 20% of gross income, and pay 39% of the taxes.
the top 10% earn 47% of the income and pay 70% of the taxes
the bottom 50% earn 11% of the income and pay 2% of the taxes.

The people who built the factories paid for the roads, the police, and the education. Elizabeth Warren earned the nickname Lieawatha for more than checking the box to get her professorship.__