Monday, February 1, 2016

Can global inequality continue its present course?

Shocking reports of wealth concentration are emerging from various sources. Just a few individuals hoard wealth that's more than half the humanity's worth.
It is now well-accepted that the world has become a dangerously skewed place, and the promise of trickle-down has turned so hollow that politicians and economist alike have stopped using it.
Someone asked - Why are the socialists / communists so quiet about it? Yes, that's a good question. Here's my answer.
Socialism (and its extreme version - Communism) is about challenging societal inequality, essentially wealth-inequalities. Given that, the biggest surprise of Indian politics (and in general, world politics) is that the mainstream Communist Parties seem to have worked especially hard to lose all relevance, just when the conditions for their relevance are strikingly present everywhere! The world is more unequal than ever, and with technology taken over entire industries, inequality is about to touch historic levels.
Here is the crux of the latest Global Wealth Report.
The Richest 1% of the World (that's a royal 62 individuals) today hold the wealth equal to the poorest 50% of the world. So, 62 = 360,00,00,000 !
Not only this, even in the society we would consider the most egalitarian of all - the USA - inequality is a demon whose tentacles seem to pervade throughout.
Here is a look at how unequal the US has now become.
So what has gone wrong with the Communists? Why are they not exerting themselves worldwide?
Let us look at what PRC (China) has now become.
So the one country that could be counted upon by the Communists to spread its philosophy worldwide has turned capitalistic! Of course, the political discourse remains strictly authoritarian, but economic model has changed.
Thomas Piketty brought this issue to the fore beautifully and turned an academic rockstar!
And he has this to say - "I hope the Indian elites behave more responsibly than the Western elite did in the 20th century". He goes on to say that "The Communist Chinese have been more successful that the Indians in mobilising resources for social welfare programmes".
So why are the Socialists / Communists not rising and shining? These come to my mind -
Reason 1. Violence is essential to the communist takeover of any nation's ruling system. The experience of the world wars & the Cold War has made many nations extremely wary of allowing any form of mass violence. That systemic resistance is working against the communist style.
Reason 2. Industrialisation and manufacturing models dominating the world economy require integration with global supply-chains. China did precisely that starting 1980s. Now they see no need to go back, even if it means allowing a certain % of Chinese elite becoming super-rich.
Reason 3. The USA loathes the word socialism and communism so much, even if the world were to come to and end tomorrow, they'd resist adopting radical measures. So, perhaps that's why the We are the 99% movement gradually lost steam.
Reason 4. Who's guarding all the doors, who's holding all the keys? This is a controversial issue, and reader research is advised!
All said and done, if human beings by the tens of millions keep getting disenfranchised from the economy the way they are now, an uprising is imminent. World leaders must work together towards a system that caps wealth hoarding by individuals, else there'd be nothing left to protect (unless the elite escape to other planets). History does teach those lessons.


sunny said...

Statistically speaking the gap between rich and poor is changinging. Watching this video has provided a new perspective.

Ashok Kumar said...

Dear Sandeep sir, I have been a regular follower of your content. It is extremely lucid, helpful and power-packed! Keep posting … thanks again

Unknown said...

such conditions leads to formation of secret societies.