According to Time magazine, “the world’s 85 richest individuals now own as much as the poorest half of the 7 billion global population, according to a report released by Oxfam” last week.
Just contemplate that statistic for a moment. Eighty-five people. Own more than 3,500,000,000 people put together.
Imagine what a gathering of 85 people would look like. Eighty-five people wouldn’t even fill up the small music club I frequent; it’s an intimate club and it holds 225 people.
Now imagine a gathering of 3.5 billion (a little harder to do!). The two groups have the same amount of wealth.
Is it just me or is there something seriously wrong with this picture?!
The Time magazine article goes on to say, “The report calls on governments to crackdown on international tax dodgers and invest in public institutions such as healthcare, as well as implement progressive taxes and eradicate opaque political structures that encourage corruption.”
I think we need to go a lot farther than that. I think we need to rethink our economic system completely. Tom Toles, the editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post, is a utopian dreamer like me. In his blog post today he wrote:
I know economics is really resistant to efforts to make it more equitable and fair and satisfying, but we’re going to have to take another run at it anyway. Marxism was an attempt to do it with a very blunt instrument, all cast iron gears and belching steam and hammers and sickles. It was a colossal mess. But we’re smarter now. Everything else works better, so why not a more sophisticated model of redistributed economic benefits? What would that look like?
It would look like a conscious dedicated plan and effort to get all that grunt work [of labor] into the newly capable hands of computer-guided robot slaves. And distribute some of the profits from that endeavor and some of the Do What You Love (DWYL) opportunities to everyone. We can Do It If We Want To. (DIIWWT)
Here’s Mr. Toles’ cartoon today, in the same theme: