Capitalism is eating the future

The world's 10 biggest corporations now have revenue greater than the combined public revenue of 180 countries.

There can be no doubt about it. Capitalism is eating the future, destroying it with systematic greed and exploitation.

Just one year ago, according to calculations by anti-poverty group Oxfam, the 62 richest people on the planet owned as much wealth as the poorest half of the world's population (3.5 billion). This year that number has dropped to eight as inequality spirals out of control.

Eight super rich men have more wealth than half the people in the world and the richest 1% have more than the other 99%. Does anyone believe this is sustainable, let alone conscionable?

It is not only that the rich have become richer — the poorest have got poorer. Last year Credit Suisse estimated that the share of the world's wealth held by the poorest 50% was 0.7% but this year that has dropped to 0.2%.

In the US — now the land of presidentially-endorsed “alternative facts” — Tomas Piketty's latest research shows that in the past 30 years the growth in incomes of the world’s poorest 50% was zero while the incomes of the richest 1% grew by 300%.

If you believe the fairy tale that the rich got richer through their own hard work, the facts show otherwise. Oxfam examined the wealth of the 1810 billionaires on last year’s Forbes list and found that 89% were men, a third of their wealth was inherited and 43% can be linked to cronyism.

The truth is that the wealth of the super rich grows automatically. Large concentrations of wealth command greater exploitation, deeper austerity for the majority, precarious jobs and unemployment or underemployment for more and more workers. This concentration of wealth demands a bigger and bigger return even at the cost of locking the world into catastrophic climate change.

The world's 10 biggest corporations now have revenue greater than the combined public revenue of 180 countries. That is hardly surprising, as they systematically dodge taxes. Underdeveloped countries are cheated of $100 billion a year through corporate tax dodging.

Inequality on this scale condemns us to a world permanently at war and one that will fail the climate change challenge.

I urge you to download and read Oxfam's latest inequality report, entitled An Economy for the 99%.

If you have a conscience you will feel very angry after you read it. But that is not enough. You need to take action to become part of the solution.

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