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cybercoma

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The report also mentioned this fantastic news!...

- 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.
- 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 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.
Hurray!! Sending a letter to Bill Gates & Warren Buffet now thanking them for all their great philanthropy!
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The philosophical question here is this: do we have a moral imperative to ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth and resources around the world?

No, as the premise is flawed on several levels, starting with the presumption that "we" could or should impose such a moral imperative in the first place.

If you earn more than $48K in North America, you are part of the 1%. Shame on these people for not sharing the wealth globally !

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If you earn more than $48K in North America, you are part of the 1%. Shame on these people for not sharing the wealth globally !

Nope.

The top 1 percent of American households had income above $394,000 last year. http://news.yahoo.com/top-1-percent-took-record-share-2012-us-150502676--finance.html
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A recent Oxfam report says the 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the bottom half of the world's population (3.5 Billion people). Kevin O'Leary has gone on record to say that this is "fantastic news." It gives the impoverished around the world something to "aspire to." The philosophical question here is this: do we have a moral imperative to ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth and resources around the world? Let's discuss the Oxfam report and its moral, ethical, and philosophical implications.

Inequality is a useful metric to track but I do not think we should set "equality goals".

I have trouble with stats like:

"Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years."

So what? It is likely that all seven of these people live in countries where the poverty rate has been decreasing and the standard of living has increased. I believe that there is often a trade-off, increased inequality is the "price you pay" for a reduction in poverty.

That said, I agree with most of the recommendations of the report, and excessive inequality should be reduced. I think the moral imperative is to strive for a world with more equal distribution of opportunities, this should lead to a more equal distribution of wealth and resources.

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He means the global 1%. If you earn more than $48k USD, you earn more than 99% of the world's population.

The numbers vary a bit by source, but 48k is around the ballpark. Whether the 1% income threshold is $500k or 50k isn't as big of a deal as the stats in the report. Even if you make $18k in Canada (considered poor here) your standard of living is still far more than the vast majority in the world.

It just shows how poor most of the world is & how most of us are indifferent to it. We should do what we can to help those on the lower end of the economic spectrum (we can't solve some countries' problems for themselves). IMO we should guarantee more fair/equal terms of trade between rich/poor countries (tarrifs etc) and generally stop exploiting people in all countries. Globally rich may lose money in the short-term but having more global consumers will spur GDP in rich countries in the longterm, plus more educated people globally will mean more minds making more technological discoveries/inventions to benefit all.

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Wealth isn't distributed. It's earned. Much of these bottom 3.5 billion live in countries without stable democratic governments and without free market economies.

I agree 100% with both of these statements.

If the governments of these countries (including pretty much every western nation including the US and Canada) didn't give in to the 1%, you would see an increase in minimum wages and universal health care/education!

WWWTT

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Even if you make $18k in Canada (considered poor here) your standard of living is still far more than the vast majority in the world.

I believe that this is an arrogant statement and has no merit. Can you provide a link to support it?

Vast majority is a bold claim!

WWWTT

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I have trouble with stats like:

"Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years."

So what? It is likely that all seven of these people live in countries where the poverty rate has been decreasing and the standard of living has increased. I believe that there is often a trade-off, increased inequality is the "price you pay" for a reduction in poverty.

That's just not true. Increasing inequality and ability to reduce poverty isn't mutually inclusive, there's no significant correlation. Sometimes there's increased inequality (ie: post-Communist countries), and sometimes there isn't.

Example: here's an academic article from the OECD about South-East Asian poverty & income inequality, starting in Section 3, pg. 15. It shows using stats among the HPAE's (high performing asian economies) that all have had high growth and low inequality over the decades, but also that inequality has both dropped or risen at different points for some of these countries & there's no strong correlation either way between between GDP growth/poverty reduction and inequality among the HPAE's.

Also, tons of developing countries agreed to drastic neoliberalization of their economies (the "Washington Consensus") via IMF-imposed "structural adjustment programs" in the 80's in return for things like debt relief and many countries saw a decrease in GDP growth and other development metric growth as well as increased inequality in great part because of too much liberalization of their economies (some liberalization is good for growth obviously, but it must be directed properly to protect domestic interests in poor countries). I also highly recommend you read the short "conclusion" of the research paper (p. 34), as it will back up these claims, and echoes conclusions from countless other academic articles, ie:

After two decades, critical reconsideration of the Washington Consensus, which sees no alternative to liberalisation and globalisation, is long overdue. International financial liberalisation has not only been bad for redistribution, but also for growth....Trade liberalisation may theoretically enhance overall consumer welfare, but in the short and medium term, it has caused massive job and income losses, with regressive consequences. Investment liberalisation too has systematically reduced possible gains from foreign direct investment to the host economy. The new international economic regime also limits development initiatives. So there are strong reasons to doubt liberalisation's and globalisation's allegedly benign consequences for growth as well as distribution.

However:

That said, I agree with most of the recommendations of the report, and excessive inequality should be reduced. I think the moral imperative is to strive for a world with more equal distribution of opportunities, this should lead to a more equal distribution of wealth and resources

We agree on this! :)

Edited by Moonlight Graham
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I believe that this is an arrogant statement and has no merit. Can you provide a link to support it?

Vast majority is a bold claim!

WWWTT

It's not arrogant it's based on statistics. Use this tool and type in $18,000 for your income: www.globalrichlist.com $18k income makes you in the world's top 5% in US dollars, and in Canadian dollars you're in the global top 10%. Richer than 90-95% of the world = "vast majority".

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It just shows how poor most of the world is & how most of us are indifferent to it. We should do what we can to help those on the lower end of the economic spectrum (we can't solve some countries' problems for themselves). IMO we should guarantee more fair/equal terms of trade between rich/poor countries (tarrifs etc) and generally stop exploiting people in all countries. Globally rich may lose money in the short-term but having more global consumers will spur GDP in rich countries in the longterm, plus more educated people globally will mean more minds making more technological discoveries/inventions to benefit all.

The best way to "help" the economic progress of those in poorer countries is to do business with them. Much of Asia has advanced considerably over the last few decades giving rise to a new global middle class of hundreds of millions of people, largely as a result of business interaction with the West. Global trade in fact vastly benefits huge numbers of people in the developing world, while actually putting downward pressure on wages in highly developed nations. Therefore, I don't think it can be said that global trade is unfair towards poor countries.

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There is enough wealth in the world to support everyone on it to a satisfactory standard. Greed keeps this from happening. The pursuit of wealth has become the driving force behind most of our societies. Top league athletes and actors make gross amounts of money for doing nothing of benefit to the world. Some celebrities are famous for no reason I have ever seen except bad behavior. People all but worship them for it too.

Marketing and sales are glorified within the business world to the point that I think business people have forgotten that attached to every wallet, is a human being.

When was the last time someone invented something with the intent of helping the world? Not making a profit.

I'm afraid for what capitalism has become. What it has made us become.

Edited by moonraker
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It's not arrogant it's based on statistics. Use this tool and type in $18,000 for your income: www.globalrichlist.com $18k income makes you in the world's top 5% in US dollars, and in Canadian dollars you're in the global top 10%. Richer than 90-95% of the world = "vast majority".

Nope sorry, you're changing what you originally said in the quote that I commented on!

You stated "STANDARD OF LIVING", not income.

Two different things.

Back up your claim with stats that refer to STANDARD OF LIVING, not income!

WWWTT

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There is enough wealth in the world to support everyone on it to a satisfactory standard. Greed keeps this from happening.

But as Moonight Graham (I think) pointed out, we saw inequality AND rising incomes in Asia due to globalization. Decades of Communism and UN aid did not lift poverty in any significant way compared to being plugged in to the global commerce grid.

The pursuit of wealth has become the driving force behind most of our societies. Top league athletes and actors make gross amounts of money for doing nothing of benefit to the world. Some celebrities are famous for no reason I have ever seen except bad behavior. People all but worship them for it too.

Marketing and sales are glorified within the business world to the point that I think business people have forgotten that attached to every wallet, is a human being.

When was the last time someone invented something with the intent of helping the world? Not making a profit.

I'm afraid for what capitalism has become. What it has made us become.

Your concern here is not with the material as much as it is with the spiritual side of a society. I don't think a society will persist without a soul, and so we'll either rediscover this somehow or we'll die... or become something else.

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Back up your claim with stats that refer to STANDARD OF LIVING, not income!

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/the-haves-and-the-have-nots/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

The household income numbers are all converted into international dollars adjusted for equal purchasing power, since the cost of goods varies from country to country. In other words, the chart adjusts for the cost of living in different countries, so we are looking at consistent living standards worldwide.

...

Notice how the entire line for the United States resides in the top portion of the graph? That’s because the entire country is relatively rich. In fact, America’s bottom ventile is still richer than most of the world: That is, the typical person in the bottom 5 percent of the American income distribution is still richer than 68 percent of the world’s inhabitants.

Eyeballing the graphs says that the Top 60% of people in the US are richer than 90% of the world. The top 15% in the US are richer than 99% of the world. To be in the Top 60% your income must be greater than 40K. Edited by TimG
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