Many people gasped when they read that an Oxfam study found that the richest 85 people in the world own the same wealth as the poorest half of the global population.
It is shocking and unconscionable. It is grossly unfair and unjust. But it is much more than this. This unimaginable concentration of wealth condemns the liveability of the planet and makes permanent war inescapable – for how else but through ruthless violence can this wealth and power of the privileged few be maintained?
The report, Working for the few: Political capture and economic inequality, sums up the situation with the following statistics.
“Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population.
“The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.
“The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
“Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.
“The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012.
“In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95% of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90% became poorer.”
The report said: “Unless bold political solutions are instituted to curb the influence of wealth on politics, governments will work for the interests of the rich, while economic and political inequalities continue to rise. As US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously said, ‘We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we cannot have both.’”
Green Left Weekly shares this view and has been campaigning for system change since it first began publishing in 1991. It will be publishing its 1000th issue on March 12. To commemorate this, GLW is calling for messages of solidarity and for pledges to its 2014 Fund Appeal that will keep it fighting for system change.
In the last issue, a target of $100,000 in pledges in eight weeks was set. So far, GLW has received pledges amounting to $38,930.
Nineteen of these pledges were for $1000, and five of these have been for $2000 or more. A big thank you to these $1000 Club joiners. Can you follow their fine example?
Please send your pledge for Green Left's 2014 Fund Appeal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also phone the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia) to make a pledge, or make a donation online. Direct deposits can also be made to Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 00901992. Otherwise, you can send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007.
And remember to send Green Left Weekly your message of support for its coming 1000th issue.