Tuesday, January 21, 2014

OXFAM: $110 trillion (half world's wealth) held by 1%; 85 richest people control $1.7 trillion

Martin Luther King Jr., one of the icons of North American race relations during the 20th century, nevertheless, could not escape the determined surveillance of people like Edgar Hoover, then head of the FBI, for his personal indiscretions and for his potentially "communist" associations.
Hoover, of course, also hated the Kennedy's and collected intelligence on both John and Bobby, both of whom recognized that, should they ever 'cross' Hoover, he would release his "dirt" and bring them down.
And in the middle of that kind of scurrilous and state interference in the lives of these men, civil rights legislation was able to be passed, although it took until after the Kennedy assassination (1964) under President Johnson, to get it passed.
And then, barely a few years later, King himself was shot in the decade of the assassinations (JFK and RFK) in the country that has no bounds on its dependence on weapons.
King's legacy, however, needs to be re-focussed on his core passion, "poverty" given the regression that has occurred since his death in the income disparity between American rich and the growing poor.
Yesterday, for example, Oxfam released a study just prior to the World Economic Forum's meeting in Davos, Switzerland, that pointed out this glaring and shameful piece of information:
85 of the richest people in the world hold as much wealth as the bottom 3 billion people together.
What's more, in too many of the "developed" countries, tax laws have been relaxed on the rich, making it possible for them to grow even more wealthy.
Here is an excerpt from the CBC website on the Oxfam report:
The richest 85 individuals in the world hold wealth equal to that owned by the poorest half of the planet's population, according an Oxfam report.

Oxfam’s report, titled Working for the Few, was published ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and urges the group to take measures to reduce growing inequality.

“Widening inequality is creating a vicious circle where wealth and power are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, leaving the rest of us to fight over crumbs from the top table,” Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam’s executive director, said in a press release.
Oxfam claims that since the late '70s tax rates for the world’s richest people have fallen in 29 or 30 countries for which details are available.

In addition, the wealthy hide about $21 trillion US in unrecorded and offshore accounts out of reach of governments, the report claimed.
"Wealthy elites have co-opted political power to rig the rules of the economic game, undermining democracy and creating a world where the 85 richest people own the wealth of half of the world's population," Oxfam claimed.
It estimates that half the world’s wealth, $110 trillion US is held by just one per cent of the population, while the 85 richest control $1.7 trillion. (CBC News website, January 20, 2014)
While the U.S. celebrates the right to vote for African Americans, a right that is being eroded in many states, the world, including the U.S. perhaps even led by the U.S. has slipped farther into the abyss of the control of the wealthy, a scathing rejection of the principal goal of the American civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. who would undoubtedly be appalled by such developments, both on the civil rights front and on the poverty front.

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