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Inequality for all

Written By: - Date published: 11:08 am, February 11th, 2014 - 14 comments
Categories: economy, equality - Tags:

ceo pay


There’s been an excellent Insight on Radio NZ on Sunday / Monday, looking at the income gap and the consequences for our society – the loss of social mobility, the loss of health (mental & physical) for all, the increased incarceration, drug use etc etc.

There’s also been recently PBS coverage in the US, with a good round-up on this page, looking at the consequences of US Congress Republicans stopping all unemployment benefits beyond 26 weeks (even if individual States want to).

It’s a familiar story – the lack of realisation of how bad inequality is (or how bad its effects are), the massive increase in wealth for the 0.1% in the last 30 years – but one worth repeating until we change society for the better.


14 comments on “Inequality for all”

  1. greywarbler 1

    I agree that this program is a good listen. As a backup to Ben’s post I’ll repeat details from an earlier comment I put up.

    Income inequality –
    amongst others featuring Max Rushbrooke, is well worth a listen. And gives interesting ‘insight’ into how Phil O’Reilly, and various economists, can explain our economy as being satisfctory and understandable. Myself I feel they are dissembling. What do you think?

    was on Sunday 9/Feb/2014 at 8.15 am and is
    to be repeated on Radionz on Monday 10 February at 7.30pm
    and Wednesday at 12.30 a.m.

    Insight – Sunday 9 February 2014, with Philippa Tolley
    NZ Radio Awards 2013: winner of the Best Documentary or Feature Programme & co-winner of Best Daily or Weekly series under an Hour Duration
    Insight for 9 February 2014 – Does Rich -Poor Divide Matter? ( 27′ 13″ )
    Penny Mackay investigates whether a big income gap really matters. Share Download: Ogg  |  MP3

    gap rich – poor
    Once one of the most equal nations in the world, during the 80s and 90s New Zealand’s income gap widened faster than any other developed country.
    Equality advocates say that is too wide and is responsible for social problems including high rates of mental illness, teenage pregnancy, violence and incarceration.
    Others say obsessing about a “gap” is a distraction from tackling poverty itself.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    The profits being retained and distributed by corporates is of huge concern. Trillions of dollars stashed in tax havens world wide while austerity is being enforced on the poor and vulnerable.

    • Bill 2.1

      Or, not stashed but thrown onto the roulette wheel of derivatives and other strange financial phenomena – some that twist the price of real world goods in an upward spiral (ie, futures trading bumping the cost of basic foodstuffs like wheat and what not).

      Or not stashed and then lost on the roulette wheel of weirdness to be replenished by the simple act of taking 10% of all bank deposits of ordinary savers (the deposits guarantee scheme, I believe it’s called?)

      • Puddleglum 2.1.1

        Wealth in assets (shares, bank deposits, land, etc.) is actually just a promissory note on future production. Economics is not about wealth but about production.

        That helps explain why those with the most wealth have the most invested in keeping this production machine growing. Without future production (and heaps of it) their wealth is completely notional. And if the wealth is notional, so is their power.

    • tricledrown 2.2

      CV borrow and spendkey has borrowed copious amounts of this laundered money which is feed back into the international banking system where dumrse govts pay top interest while the big trading blocks print to avoid inflating their currencies and damaging theirproductive sector unlike double dipstick and shonkey the money trader.

      • adam 2.2.1

        The quiet mistake from on high, was what the financial people did a wrong and there is no cure for this gamble. They poured money into asset backed securities (ABS). One part was a resource hunt and another … was effectively a huge betting system on poor and working people being able to pay back their loans and mortgages. Look up Richard Wolff he has written about it.

        In 2007 it hit the wall, and is still hitting the wall – It is the top with money to burn looking for a quick buck and a bottom being squeezed – hence a financial shit storm. They have shored these ASB’s up, by the US federal government, and the Germans taking on the debts. So delayed the effects of it other words. And guess what – the financial institutions of the world are out betting again on these ASB’s . So I’m thinking by June 2016 at the latest, and the wheels will come off again and we will be in another recession. Sooner maybe, because one of the other things they are betting on is snatching resources, which are easy to get. Hmmmmm sound familiar?

    • aerobubble 2.3

      For every dollar earnt there is a dollar of debt (more or less). So central banks have been printing money, making debt, this debt seemingly stabilized the banking system, but its also lead to huge amounts of money sloshing around financial markets that reflect little on the real economy.
      Its not about them holding on to it per se, its about the shear amount of it.

      Now take Joyce in the parliament today. Joyce could not be honest, that since top payout for CEO is rising, and low pay jobs are falling in number, of course weekly average wages is rising, and so Norman is right to point out that for most people their wages aren’t keeping up with inflation.
      That’s the effect of all this money sloshing around big finance, Key’s government saying that
      wages aren’t a problem, since all his mates are getting above inflation pay rises.

  3. captain hook 3

    what are the poor folks doing for Christmas this year?
    You cant be a winner unless there are losers and the people running this Nationa government all think they are winners.

    • aerobubble 3.1

      A guest on Moro called the discussion nuts. She had been trying to explain how obesity from fast food needs better regulation but was continually being interrupted by a neo-liberal who would have none of it. Now we know neo-liberals are dumb, since it only took thirty years during year on year cheaper energy for their ideology to crash the world banking system. But here’s the surprise, by using neo-liberal hero Reagan’s claim that lower taxes means large tax revenue the child obesity
      crisis can be exposed. Since lower taxes spurs activity, more fast food is sold, with more fast food comes more obesity, and so increased healthcare costs using up the extra revenue (and then some).

      So National tax cuts to business, without better regulation of fast food, leads to a inefficient use of resources that turns healthy child into walking bags of excess fat and ill health. You see the dumb
      neo-liberals see no point for regulation, they saw no point to mine inspectors, or for forestry inspectors, until the costs are mounting and will means tax rises for them!!! That’s why the
      Moro show is nuts, and I love it, getting the moron right out on live radio to show off how
      utterly foolish their denial do nothingness is really.

      You see tories were losers, they equated the wealth that cam from cheaper high density fuel with the work of tory ideology, that ideology of hands off, do nothing-ism, was responsible
      for the growth of the last thirty years. In fact it was just a creaming machine, cropping the cream off the real value of the economy and then having to churn it through massive financial machines to create profits for the new high priests of our society, the bankers and currency exchangers.

      The last thirty years have been a economic dark age, like its historical europes dark ages, where
      little happened, everyone thought they were doing great living with growing populations in cities with open sewage, water borne diseases, etc. Our black plague is now upon us, symptoms are
      clear, huge bonuses to the top despite falling efficiency, and pending disasters being dismissively
      ignored. The cult of Thatcher grew into a church, a church out of touch and whose bible is failing the people.

  4. Ennui 4

    Recently I have been catching up on Ugo Bardi and his conversation with Dmitri Orlov re collapse in Italy. http://cluborlov.com/ I also concurrently listened to some lectures by Tariq Ali (the original “street fightin man”). There was a common undercurrent that emerged between the headlines…that of taxation.

    They contend that we are watching the relative failure of wages to keep up with inflation and costs, plus we are watching the pay differentials between workers and capital blow out. A lot of us view this as a progression to neo-feudalism but what may have escaped many is the role of the state in the making of a new serfdom.

    Orlov notes that the state when starved of cash from economic decline, and thus income and consumption, then taxers need to find new revenue sources. Bardi agrees the property of the populace is a good starting point. In effect the wealth or debt of the individual is eroded or as things unwind confiscated by the state. Those with huge wealth tend to be closest to the state and more immune, they become the new feudal aristocracy. The masses descend into debt servitude.

    Most people doubt that this is possible in “democratic” societies, if so ask yourself “why in a democracy have we allowed the erosion of individual liberties and rights, and such a wealth gap disparity”? (The answer is that we dont have a truly functioning democracy, it has been captured as demonstrated by the track record of the last thirty years).

    So the real worry for us as individuals: the state, in the absence of economically generated tax income, may decide on direct taxation per capita (i.e send you a bill regardless of income and property holdings), demand payment and seize you or your assets. If you dont think this happens think of the Biblical record, think of Rome in decline, and more recently as attested by Tariq Ali the peasants in China have been taxed per capita. Be very wary.

  5. ropata 5

    Jeremiah 5:26-29
    “My people are infiltrated by wicked men,
    unscrupulous men on the hunt.
    They set traps for the unsuspecting.
    Their victims are innocent men and women.
    Their houses are stuffed with ill-gotten gain,
    like a hunter’s bag full of birds.
    Pretentious and powerful and rich,
    hugely obese, oily with rolls of fat.
    Worse, they have no conscience.
    Right and wrong mean nothing to them.
    They stand for nothing, stand up for no one,
    throw orphans to the wolves, exploit the poor.
    Do you think I’ll stand by and do nothing about this?”
    God’s Decree.
    “Don’t you think I’ll take serious measures
    against a people like this?

  6. Crunchtime 6

    A major issue often omitted when talking about inequality is Democracy.

    I have often heard it that when salaries at the high end are more than 10 times the average worker’s salary, democracy itself is undermined. Because more money means more political influence.

    We are a long long way past 10 times – and this is why we have domination of mainstream political discourse by the right wing. More inequality gives more POLITICAL power to the rich as well as any other thing.

    This is what we should be most concerned about at the top end of the scale.

    In tandem of course, is all the woes, hunger, poor morale, poor standard of living, suffering at the other end of the wealth scale. These people stop counting, stop being counted, get left out, get left behind. We all suffer as a result (apart from those too far away from it and too rich to notice).

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 6.1

      +1 Crunchtime

      • aerobubble 6.1.1

        Average wages rise when the richest paid employees get above inflation rises and the number of poor paying jobs disappear leaving unemployment higher. But Key thinks this is great.

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