Home | About | Donate

Why We Need to Ditch Austerity and Take on the Global 1%


#1

Why We Need to Ditch Austerity and Take on the Global 1%

Benjamin Dangl

By next year, the richest 1% of the world will own more wealth than the rest of the entire population of the planet, according to Oxfam. This is a staggering figure, almost impossible to comprehend. And yet, this fact alone puts into focus a harsh truth: that we live in a fierce, inhuman, capitalist world where a handful of the richest people get richer and more powerful, even as governments across the globe enact austerity measures against the working class.


#2

The top 1% of the world this, the top 1% of the world that. For PhD candidate (albeit in Latin American history) this Mr.Dangl fails to recognize that he himself is in the 1% of the world. $35k/yr income puts you well in the top 1% on income, a paid off house and some retirement savings in the top 1% in wealth.

This 1% meme is being taken to extremes, Even tho looking at history it doesn't seem so extreme.


#3

And your point is? Using your standards of what constitutes being in the 1%, standards of which the rest of us totally do not agree with, are you saying that you too are in the top 1% with your middle class earnings? Or are you just trying to get people to shut up when they complain about this gross income inequality of which the author has no hand creating? Now why would you want people to stop pointing out inequality? The author is correct: "Inequality is not a symptom of the ills of global capitalism, it is its fuel." Inequality is deliberately created by those who benefit most from it- the 1%. Inequality is not a benign by-product of capitalism as it is currently practiced. Inequality is not a benign by-product of capitalism as the 1% would have you believe. We can change this. They don't want you to think that it can be change or that there is even any good reason to do so. Don't let the 1% fool you.


#4

What you are ignoring is that the most money belongs to the top .01% and if you really break it down, it's worse than that with only a few having most of the money.
You include all the poorest third world countries.
In the U S, it takes about $350,000 to be in the top 1% and similar in other developed countries and ... again, most is in the hands of the top .01%. They now have obscene amounts of money and those groups are also avoiding taxes in this country....money that used to belong to the country and is now being made up for by punishing the poor and middle class even more.
Republicans in the last few years have passed bills to give the very richest another $900 billion in tax breaks while cutting services to the poor.
You also ignore the fact that we now have the most and poorest people in the developed world. and the worst wealth disparity in history. That is the number one reason nations have failed throughout history.


#5

Why not take a look at what we did here in the US, with the support of Dems and libs. Right here, we've been rolling out the austerity agenda for years, from the bottom up. Liberal media have (with VERY rare exception) ignored the consequences, remaining hard-focused on appealing to middle class consumers and campaign donors. When we ignore our own poverty crisis right here, it's hypocritical to pretend to be concerned about poverty elsewhere.

Take on the 1%? Sure. Who? How? We have to acknowledge that what the rich are now doing to the middle class, is what the middle class already did to the poor. This generation was deeply divided and conquered. No one is going to fight back in the US because our survival depends on corporate powers.


#6

Just a quick note: It was the Clinton Democrats that ended actual welfare aid, and took the first steps to dismantle Social Security, targeting the disabled. Not the Republicans. As a result of B. Clinton's cuts, the disabled became the fastest-growing group of homeless people by 2000. They did very poorly on the streets. Finally, President Obama restored benefits, but the rt. wing of the Dems in Congress immediately began cutting again. They are currently either considering, or have already agreed to, new cuts that are far deeper than those made by Clinton, so we already know that this will cost lives. Since the 1980s "Reagan Democrats," it has been the Dems -- not the Republicans -- who have led the war on the poor and the impoverishment of the middle class.


#7

Please! why does everyone refuse to see the wood in the trees?
There is one, and only one, cause of all our economic woes. During the
early 1900's our stupid/corrupt politicians signed away our Sovereign
"rights" , that allowed us to print and issue our own interest free,
debt free money; and since then we have all become "debt slaves". Our
rights to print and issue our own money out of thin air were ceded to
private banking Corporations, thus now, we borrow all our money from
them, and they simply print it out of thin air, and charge us interest
for the privilege. Given the nature of our economic cycles, the booms
and busts, it is virtually impossible for us ever to repay all such
debts, especially since, when they print our borrowings, they do not
also print the money to cover the interest repayments. This particular
economic consequence was recorded centuries ago in the well known fable
about the boy who possessed a goose that laid "golden" eggs; he sold the
goose for a paltry sum and forever thereafter he was destitute.

The remedy for our problems is simple; we abrogate any agreement
previously made, reclaim our Sovereign "rights" to print and issue our
own debt free interest free money.

This will enable us to stop income-taxing of individuals; we may pay
everyone that needs it a social wage, based on a break even computation,
this will eliminate poverty and deprivation; those in receipt of the
Social wage will be encouraged into employment, without loss of this
Social wage, and to work for any employer for additional income,
mutually agreed between them. this gives control of work and income to
the "workman". Employers will gain a workforce of people willing to
accept much lower wages than previously paid, thus making the employer
production cost significantly lower; plus, the employer no longer
collects taxes for the Government. The employer Corporation/business
will pay tax annually as usual. The collection of V.A.T. or G.S.T.,
consumer taxes will cease.

All Government expenditures will be provided by the planned issue of our
own debt free interest free money using legislation approved by
Parliament. Health, Education, University courses, Infrastructure of all
kinds, etc. etc.

Provided that all of these expenditures are actually "spent" into
circulation they will not create inflation; inflation will occur, for
instance, when too much money chases too few "goods". The Government
must own and run it's own Bank, just like the original Commonwealth
Bank. No Private Bank or Corporation will be permitted to create money,
under any guise; our financial system will revert to one of "sound "
money. Sound money is that which turns around sound borrowing and
lending, controlled by being liquid cash, backed by the ownership of
assets, and strict criteria keeping them in balance; borrowing and
lending outside of these criteria, characterised as "high risk", will be
permitted between parties willing to accept such risk, and then, only
when it involves their own wholly owned assets.

Interest rates in the private sector will be set by the private sector.
The floating exchange rate will be converted into "fixed" rates decided
by Government, and as decided between Sovereign Nations and embodied in
trade agreements. Our currency will not be traded on "Exchanges", our
Nation will be immunised against the manipulated predations of the "Market".

The foregoing explains the broad brush strokes involved, but in summary
we would have a Nation with little or no foreign debt, a Nation whose
domestic economy sits on a solid unshakeable base, a Nation better able
to compete in the wider World, a Nation without poverty whose peoples
are empowered to think and work for themselves, a Nation rescued from
the avarice of the "Money Lenders", and above all, a Government able to
be free and Independent, instead of being owned by Corporate money and
influence. This is named "The Universal Economy" because it will operate
anywhere.

For those who doubt the efficacy of this proposal, I suggest they study
the United States example. The clever banking Corporations engineered
the U.S. dollar to be the Worlds reserve currency. Ever since the U.S.
has been printing money out of thin air, the only Nation to do so, now
they have military bases in more than one hundred and seven Nations,
they have engineered regime change and wars in countless Nations, and
recently have printed trillions of dollars, called quantitative easing,
and poured it into foreign banks and financial Institutions trying to
prevent the next meltdown; but it is not working because their printed
money was not spent into circulation, instead it inflated the prices of
shares and real estate, the bust cometh.


#8

Good point. Problem is, it don't matter what "most of us think". My grandfather was thinking just the way you do when the Soviet Army came and decided to equalize everybody. Turns out the guys with the big guns had a different wealth threshold in mind when they classified people into "workers" and "exploiters". But most people aren't keen into studying or remembering.

As for the definition of poor, lemme tell you. I'd rather be poor in the US than anywhere else. Does it suck? Yeah, but most of the time it's that person's fault they didn't achieve anything.


#9

It's not the money --- but rather the Empire behind the money.

Therefore, we need to ditch all the subordinate 'symptom problems' (like austerity and the 1%) and take on the Empire behind the 1%.

The term 1%, and even the actual body of people in the 1% (or the 0.1%, or the 0.01%) does not effectively define the system which allows this hierarchical structure to exist, and for that tiny elite minority to be where they are in terms of money and power.

Only the actual structure of the system which allows this level of inequality of power and money to be achieved and maintained is the core cancer of such a system --- and that is what has historically been called Empire, and what is now disguised as Empire hiding behind a facade of democracy and acting in ways that earlier Empires throughout history had not yet evolved (like a cancer evolves) into.

If we define Empire as it should be defined now: "the transfer of all power and wealth to an elite by force and/or guile", then the only difference between the neocon 'R' Vichy party and the neoliberal-con's 'D' Vichy party is the manner in which they serve the interests of this Disguised Global Capitalist Empire which 'poses' as, and is HQed in, our former country.

And yes the 'D' Vichy facade squad is better at using guile to rape, pillage, and loot 'quietly' for the Empire --- but Obama is a winning quarterback for the 'D' squad that the Empire will be hard pressed to replace.

"The U.S. state is a key point of condensation for pressures from dominant groups around the world to resolve problems of global capitalism and to secure the legitimacy of the system overall. In this regard, “U.S.” imperialism refers to the use by transnational elites of the U.S. state apparatus to continue to attempt to expand, defend, and stabilize the global capitalist system. We are witness less to a “U.S.” imperialism per se than to a global capitalist imperialism. We face an EMPIRE of global capital, headquartered, for evident historical reasons, in Washington." [Caps substituted for italics in original]

Robinson, William I. (2014-07-31). Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity (p. 122). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.


#10

The profession classes rely upon government enforced legal monopoly for at least some of their income over what they'd earn if the government didn't prohibit "competition" for services that don't need professional level qualifications. In effect the professions run their own "guilds" which prohibit any "competition" from those outside of the professions. The consequence of this is that your cost of living is considerably higher than what it would be without professional monopolism.


#12

Spoken like a true lemming, does that slave collar you wear chafe much?

Suck up that kooky-aid, you must have a line of tankers around the block to keep up your level of ignorance.

35K isn't even up to poverty level you moron...


#13

It's not just Greece, Spain, and Jamaica -- but all around our country too. I lost my last job back in 2008 when the economy tanked. I'm hitting 60 and easily googleable as a public activist and writer with attitudes disapproved of by corporate types. I struggle to take care of an elderly wife and to get by on my writing and publishing but it isn't working. We may well be on the street in a month. I know too many others in the same sinking boat. This is a poem I wrote in my anger and frustration. --

Let me tell you about
Men

Men need to work, to have something
we do something
we take pride in doing
something we identify with

Men need self-respect
some reason to take pride
in ourselves not
that chest-beating kind of
egotistical one-upsmanship
not ownership of things
or control of others but
something that
justifies our existence
and gives our lives meaning

Without this, we wither
beating up on ourselves
or worse --

I know a bright, talented, warm
young man you would have loved
who couldn't find work
who finally gave up
taking his own life
just a few days ago

I'm carrying this around like
a hot stone
in my chest because,
having been there I know
it could just as well be me
and may yet --
and neither of us are alone in this.

Our opportunities, our pride
our self image have been stolen from us
and squandered by venal
self-serving creeps at AIG, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and
Goldman Sachs. Our lives,
our manhood -- and our womanhood
have been taken by ravenous corporatists and
the politicians who serve them
and we are left
to do degrading shit-work for nothing if even that --
to beg and scavenge, nesting where we can
or to keep our last bit of self respect
and independence
by killing ourselves.

My anger and grief are epic
and my tears are not enough
My hands want to find
the throat of the beast that is killing us
and put an end to it but
I can't do it alone

This poem isn't about that young man
It's about me, about you
about all of us.


#14

I recall reading that David Koch has said that he wants it all. Presumably, he meant that he wants all the money, leaving none for the rest of us. If so, he probably misses the irony that before all the money is in the hands of one person or even one family, it will become worthless because the monetary system will simply break down. We may be getting close to that point.

Money is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow. Thornton Wilder


#15

I know. It's just that it puts you in the "global 1%" and better by ready to pay up when Mr.Dangl and his cohort decide to take it on the global 1%..

BTW, what is this "moron", "lemming"? I don't understand.


#16

I don't agree that poor people don't "acheive anything". Why should a human's life be limited to only economic acheivements? Are we really alive only to make money while we are alive? Is there no other purpose to our existance? Forming, developing and maintaining human relationships isnt exactly a business venture but can require a person's 100% commitment. Nurturing arts and sciences doesn't always produce economic gain but sometimes creates huge improvements in quality of life in spite of their being no money in it. Maybe those poor people acheived something that you arent noticing. I'd rather be poor in the San Blas Islands of Panama than in the US. Perhaps the assumption that everyone needs to be pursuing money is what's wrong with our society. Not everyone is employable. Not everyone wants to waste their life pursuing money.


#17

According to 2015 US Federal government guidelines, the poverty level for a family of four in the 48 contiguous states is $24,250 per year. You'd have to have 7 or 8 folks in the family for $35K to be below the poverty level.


#23

Though in this era, it has been the Clinton Democrats that have targeted the disabled.


#24

Money is vital to survival. America's problem has been the destructive, ongoing upward redistribution of wealth. Upward class mobility has come to a virtual standstill. By now, Americans so strongly believe in the superiority of the corporate state that they think everyone is able to work, there are jobs for all who need one, therefore no need for poverty relief. Of course, if Americans took a legitimate look at our poverty crisis, there is the risk that they would see how badly our deregulated corporate state has been failing.


#25

For those who are interested, you can find these figures at (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/01/22/2015-01120/annual-update-of-the-hhs-poverty-guidelines). We said that the average AFDC family (one parent, one child) was living the good life,"better than the working class," on roughly $4k per year, even though the poverty line is set at $15,930 for a family of two.


#26

Hi. And thank you. We've seen a long trend of dumping workers as they near retirement, but still several years too young for Social Security. Our media have maintained the myth the everyone got rich in the 1980s, forgetting that this is when our family farms began going down and our family-supporting manufacturing jobs began getting shipped out. Our media have also largely ignored our poverty crisis for just as long, maintaining a pep rally for those who are still in the middle class. Just keep hanging onto that myth that all we need to do is "work hard and play by all the rules," and everything will be fine.