Speaking of equality is cheap, achieving it is not

23 Apr 2013

You may have seen “Wealth Inequality in America” info-graphic video, if not go watch it. 1% of the country’s population own 40% of its wealth, 50% of its shares and 24% of its income whist the bottom 80% of people share 7% between them.

“Time is money”, if this were true then the CEO of a company should be working 3040 hours a day compared to their AVERAGE paid worker’s 8.  Understandably money has anything but linear returns, and this CEO would have had to work very hard with a fair amount of luck to get to where they are. But honestly, what is there to do with all this money but make more from it? We earn money for survival and then for the enrichment of our lifestyles, perhaps to help others. Having achieved this there is no point in furthering one’s personal gain; it stops being you working hard for yourself and becomes you taking away from others.   

 

The situation is no different in the UK, the top 1% own 25% of national wealth, and top 10% own 52% of total wealth. Despite these stark figures the tax cap has been reduced by 5% for incomes of over £150,000. Let’s do some math. The UK’s population is 62,300,000, so 10% should be 6,230,000. The UK’s net wealth is just over £7,000,000,000,000 as of the end of 2012 (7 trillion). The end result is 6,230,000 of UK residents own £3,640,000,000,000 of net wealth. Though much of this wealth is privately owned, I fail to see how a government set on austerity can spend £10 million on Thatcher’s funeral, with up to £3700 offered to one MP to cancel his holiday in order to attend. Whilst the UK is recovering from the worst recession in 100 years?    

Children, they are our future. They’ll fix all of the problems we’ve left as an inheritance. Before going on I’d like to mention that around ¼ of Finland’s GDP is thought to be a direct result of their world-class educatory system. Yet 3.6 million of all children in the UK live in poverty, “only half as many poor children who are eligible for Free School Meals achieved 5 or more A*-C grades at GCSE or equivalent compared to pupils not eligible.”                


Our current PM has a net worth of £6 million, and he went to Eton and later Oxford. I don’t believe he fits below the poverty line. The issue is that while the masses are having to suffer from cuts, I have to pay £1.80 to enter a local swimming pool that was previously free (a very mild example), Mr. Cameron relies on a pitiful “£142,500 per annum as salary for being Prime Minster, [luckily] he is also a sitting MP and thus receives and additional salary of £65,737”. You can make your own judgement whether this is…fair.            

We have giants like Google paying £6 million in corporation tax when it recorded annual revenues of £2.5 billion, Starbuck’s paid just £8.6 million corporation tax in 14 years. Noteworthy is the fact that this tax is the Holy Grail for failing business, if a business crumbles to the ground with hundreds of millions left in debt; this is the tax that forces the bill onto your plate. Rather than taking from the shareholders the business’s debts, the shareholders only lose what they have invested. The rest goes to the taxpayer. If these businesses had any decency they would respect the one thing in this world that will actually protect them, save expensive lawyers. But they don’t. They choose to punch decency right in the face. Even at that, when the business fails, it is the average employees that get the sack.   

We all strive to better our livelihoods, indulge in some guilty pleasures. But clearly some people really don’t know where to stop. As an average person you may feel as though you have no power over these very lucrative, very influential businesses. Alone, you don’t. Collectively the easy answer is not to buy their products, ignore their adverts, and make do with a slightly less desirable product if it is really your intention to hit them where it hurts.         

By Yassine Benlamkadem

 

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