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The Richest 20 Own More Than Half The People


The Richest 20 Own More Than Half The People

Dariel Garner

America’s richest 20 people own more than the bottom half of America - 152 million people combined. That is just one of the startling revelations in a new report, Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us, just released by the Institute for Policy Studies.


So those twenty have on average 7,600,000 servants of their own. This is NOT what democracy looks like.


The world's biggest problems--climate change, war, terrorism, poverty, hunger, suffering, diseases, destruction of ecosystems, annihilation of amazing species, human misery--can only be solved if wealth is distributed more equitably. This massive increase in inequality directly resulted from public policies that allowed the wealthy to take bigger and bigger pieces of the pie (even when that wealth was created by the greater productivity of others). Thus, we must embrace policies that directly re-distribute wealth, including higher taxes, closing loopholes, stronger regulations, and much more robust government investment in people.

To do anything less would be immoral.


I think the recommendations only scratch the surface; and this is why:

The time has come for a new global definition of wealth, itself.

For example, why is it that corporations have created a paradigm that puts a price-tag on forests, aquifers, and ecosystems that took eons to form?

The wealth gap is also the product of FAKE products that are treated as holding ultimate value when what they are--in essence--are bets on loans. A loan indicates money that is YET to be paid. That is, that money does not yet exist. But the relaxation of the Glass-Steagall Act, added to both computer technology (assisting in gargantuan simultaneous Wall St. "trades") and the introduction of these "faux products" created phenomenal sums--decoupled from actual things of worth--out of thin air.

Therefore, the entire paradigm based on granting to banks (or any outfit that puts together the right paperwork to call itself a bank) the right to make money out of thin air (it's called "fractional reserve currency") and then call THAT wealth is itself a tremendous heist against humanity AND the Living World.

The trading in derivatives, swaps, and these other faux "wealth" creations (which have been treated AS the real thing because so many profited that no one dared to pull the plug; and any brave whistle-blower got his head handed to him or was out-voted by those elite special interests that own the politicians who would arguably ACT to prevent such graft and corruption) is estimated to run over $400 trillion dollars whereas the ACTUAL global economy is about 20% of that.

In other words, it's all hot air!

And when the right wing Libertarian mouthpieces discuss this debt bubble, they never speak about the wealth inequities (as if these 400 families came by their embarrassment of riches through decency, initiative, and hard work), the phenomenal wastes on wars, or the tax games that allow the very rich to abscond with so much... they only insist with their oh so serious faces... that entitlements MUST be cut.

Rob the poor to prop up the carnivores (or should I say cannibals) who inhabit the top 1% place on the great pyramid that is grinding all life (and living systems) to a rapid halt!

It's the 21st century version of "The Midas Touch" fable.... after all, what will all the piles of paper money mean when the last tree falls, the water is too tainted to drink, and never is a bird song heard again?


Again it has to be pointed out that the persons of wealth that make this of the worlds wealthiest is not a true picture of those distortions. The "wealthiest" keep their money and assets hidden. The assets of those people dwarfs that of Bill gates and carlos Slim.


Seeing how successful their purchase of nearly all Washington DC politicians turned out to be two decades ago, the top 20 went on a shopping spree buying politicians around the globe to the extent that the only "servants" directly owned by the top 20 are most of the world's politicians. The rest of us servants are being whipped by those politicians.

As SCOTUS Justice Louis Brandeis told us nearly a century ago " You can have democracy or concentrated wealth, but you can't have both".


I read it the same way, tho I knew it was really about proportionate wealth. Yet your reading and mine is more true than perhaps the headline writer intended.


i also logged in to make the same note! As Carlin said, "They OWN you."


To quote Senator Jay Billington Bulworth: "Obscenity? The rich is getting richer and richer and richer while the middle class is getting more poor/ Making billions and billions and billions of bucks/ well my friend if you weren't already rich at the start well that situation just sucks/cause the richest mofo in five of us is getting ninety freakin eight percent of it".........

See the rest of the above and more pearls of wisdom from the good Senator at -


As long as we ask our unblushing politicians to reform things; as long as
we ask big business to reform itself, as long as we ask the power elite, our own
oligarchy, to allow redistribution of its vast wealth and power and thus reform
itself; as long as we ask our sensation-drunk media to reform itself and focus
on substantive issues; as long as we ask the courts of law to finally take into
account the vast and obscene legal, political, economic, social inequities which
govern our lives, in what passes for justice … What do we think will actually

I confess that I can only guess how to create deep and lasting systemic change.
As opposed to the small and easily neutralized incremental changes promised
by reformism, but never quite delivered. But I do know this: That the twisted
powers-that-be do not want us studying and learning from our own deep past
in any meaningful way. That in itself is a clue. They also do not want us
connecting with one another, across lines of race, sex, culture, class, history
and beyond. This is another clue. They also count on us colluding with their
divide-and-conquer strategies, across the nation and across the world.
Behold… another clue.


Is that pun in the headline deliberate?


Only my editor knows for sure... :smile:


Here are two more clues... 1.) Erica Chenoweth...see her tedx...Nonviolent civil resistance is 2X more effective than violence, 3X faster, many less casualties as measured over the last 100 years in overturning authoritarian regimes and foreign invaders. 2,) Rivera Sun, author of The Dandelion Insurrection *and Billionaire Buddha* (about me :smile: ) and impassioned speaker, instructor and writer on strategic nonviolent civil resistance.


Your words ring very true. The violence we wreak on each other is little compared to what we have done to the earth and her creatures. Very few speak for the earth


Exactly...poignant, profound, and powerful. But note Dariel's comments throughout the comment threads.


As it says in his bio, please remember this article was written by someone, Dariel Garner, who is "...the inspiration for Billionaire Buddha, a novel by Rivera Sun about a man who had incredible riches, turned his back on wealth, and found everything that is truly of worth. He speaks, holds workshops on wealth and income inequality, and blogs at riverasun.com. You can reach him by email at dariel@riverasun.com."

In other words, Dariel has "been there, done that, bought the tee-shirt" and walked away. Now he walks his walk and talks his talk. He knows better than most that riches do not buy happiness, they certainly don't buy love, and believe it or not, they don't even buy true healing. I know this b/c I know Dariel. He laughs like the Buddha he is, and he's doing his "waking the snoring" part to create change tirelessly and daily. I am grateful to be on Turtle Island at this time with him, and I should also say with Rivera Sun. They each are a trove of nonviolent treasure, strategies, and hope. They sure have been so for me.


Pretty to think so, but I don't think the idea is supported by the evidence.

Nonviolence is only ever on one side; the psychopaths think nothing of killing or maiming innocents to maintain their hegemony. It's very easy to find examples: the labor movement, the civil rights movement, and the Occupy movement are three big ones from the last 100 years in the US alone.

In my ethics, there's something completely wrong with the idea that innocents should allow themselves to be killed for the sake of the psychopaths staying in power. It's very serviceable to the psychopaths, and only to them, to make people think killing them even to protect their own lives is an ethical offence that good people shouldn't commit.

I'm not suggesting you, or anyone who advocates one-sided nonviolence, is a fellow-traveler of the psychopaths, but I'd be highly interested to hear how you justify such one-sided non-violence to yourself and others (apart from unsupported statistical claims, I mean).


It would be crone-wise to do a little more research.


What a statement! You say that you are a Psychologist and one would assume, not just from these words, but your rants against Feminism (i.e. women's equal rights) that your training was likely within either a Catholic University (Jesuit) or the military.

Your statement 100% inverts the WAY that power operates.

Blacks didn't "allow themselves" to be sold into slavery.

The Natives of the Americas didn't "allow themselves" to be conquered by those with more brutal ways and weapons.

Women didn't "allow themselves" to be the chattel of men.

Etc. Ad nauseum.

Your statement places responsibility on those victimized for their systematic victimization.

It's a disgusting ploy.

And Dariel, and others, I am far more selective in the use of the WE frame; for there are many who do not harm others, and many who take pains not to harm the earth.

It is a specific mentality--one associated with those who identify with armies, violence, and the use of force--who have used these insidious behaviors and devices (even codifying them into national policy and religious ideology) who are most responsible for those actions.

Until WOMEN'S equal participation in society, along with the voices of all those kept from the decision-making tables factor into culture, commerce, and what passes for law and policy... the calculus cannot change. Patriarchy is based on the domination of others; and so long as patriarchs rule, noise about freedom, justice, and Democracy are farcical.

And in top-down formations, those at the bottom are hardly in a position to define what is done at the top.

Perhaps Mairead is posing as the agent provocateur whose message is: If YOU don't use force to FIGHT back, then YOU deserve what you get. As if force and violence have EVER changed the calculus.... they mostly replace one set of dominant baboons with another.


Susan, please point out one of my alleged "rants against Feminism". You won't be able to, and I hope that you'll apologise to me as an adult of your stature should do