Philosophy Ripped From The Headlines!, Issue #12, 3 (August 2018): The Truth about Income Inequality, in Six Amazing Charts.

By Hugh Reginald

“The Truth about Income Inequality, in Six Amazing Charts”

By Michael Hiltzig

Los Angeles Times, 7 AUGUST 2018

URL = http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-inequality-20180807-story.html#

The share of national income going to the top 1% in the U.S. has risen from just over 10% in 1980 to more than 20% in 2016. Meanwhile, the share collected by the bottom 50% has fallen from more than 20% to about 13%. (WID)
The bottom 50% still own a larger share of national income than the 1% in Western Europe. (WID)
The wealth of the top 1% begets more wealth, at the expense of everyone else. Even the poorest of the 1% — those with incomes between percentiles 99 and 99.1 — saw income growth of 74% from 1980 to 2016. (WID)
The value of private capital has soared in developed countries as public capital declines. In the U.S. (blue line) and Britain (orange), the value of public capital is now negative. (WID)
At current rates, the share of wealth held by the top 0.1% will match that of the middle 40% by 2050. The wealth of the top 1% will easily outdistance the middle class. (WID)
Following the U.S. trend would lead to devastating levels of inequality; following national trends would make things worse though not as much; and following the EU’s trend line since 1980 would begin to narrow the gap between rich and poor. (WID)

Some Follow-Up Thoughts For Further Reflection and Discussion:

Is the following argument sound? If so, why? If not, why not?

  1. The bottom 50% still own a larger share of national income than the 1% in Western Europe.
  2. The wealth of the top 1% begets more wealth, at the expense of everyone else. Even the poorest of the 1% — those with incomes between percentiles 99 and 99.1 — saw income growth of 74% from 1980 to 2016.
  3. The value of private capital has soared in developed countries as public capital declines. In the U.S. and Britain, the value of public capital is now negative.
  4. At current rates, the share of wealth held by the top 0.1% will match that of the middle 40% by 2050. The wealth of the top 1% will easily outdistance the middle class.
  5. Following the U.S. trend would lead to devastating levels of inequality; following national trends would make things worse though not as much; and following the EU’s trend line since 1980 would begin to narrow the gap between rich and poor.
  6. In these ways, the rich in the U.S. not only achieve their wealth at the expense of labor — the people who actually produce the wealth — but they also scandalously fail to heed the moral demand of sufficient respect for the dignity of those who are poor.
  7. Therefore, just as democratic socialists believe, wealth should be radically re-distributed throughout society via highly progressive taxation, universal basic income, universal free healthcare, universal free higher education, and other radical egalitarian programs.

A Link For Supplementary Reading:

Resistance Rising: Socialist Strategy in the Age of Political Revolution.”

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This installment of Ripped! can be downloaded HERE:

PWB_philosophy_ripped_from_the_headlines_issue12–3_aug18

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BACK ISSUES

ISSUE #12, 2 (AUGUST 2018):

Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.

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