Thread: Wealth Inequality in America
11/26/2013 4:25pm, #1
Wealth Inequality in America
Has this video been seen here? I searched and didn't find it as a topic, but in my (once in a while) befuddled state, I may have put it up!
Anyhow, it explains in simple terms wealth inequality in the United States. I looked at criticisms and didn't find any that made much sense to me. My brother says this is one clear explanation of why so many Americans, especially the young, are cynical and feel hopeless. They know the game is rigged and that they are not going to win.
I'm back in Hawaii now and here wealth inequality is much worse than the mainland, due to the history of plantations, land ownership and business. Very few own very much. Most of the large landholdings were created during the 19th century period of freewheeling exploitation. And it continues, out of the average person's control or influence. For instance, two of the Big Five (called such for at least a hundred years) just made a deal: Castle and Cook sold downtown Kailua (my hometown on O'ahu and part of C&C's billion $ land portfolio) to Alexander & Baldwin for $264 million. Oracle Corp CEO Larry Ellison paid $300 million last year to buy the island of Lanai from Castle & Cook CEO David Murdock. And A&B just bought for $100 mil properties from Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto, and so on...
Not too many places have our land ownership to population ratios. In a very small state, only six owners control more than 100,000 acres each, thirty nine own estates of at least five thousand acres, more than 90% of the islands other than O'ahu are owned by the big guys, and O'ahu isn't much better, with 2/3rds of land owned by a handful, and expensive properties of course are all owned by the elite. I used to see regular Hawaiian families on beach front houses - but as prices and taxes went up and up, here on the Big Island those are now vacation rentals, homes of multi millionaires or vacation homes for elite from around the world. I'm looking for the statistic, it's truly scary, something like 97% of the land here is owned by a tiny fraction of 1% of the population.
The social ramifications from wealth inequality have been and are obvious in Hawaii. Ethnic Hawaiians are the poorest and of course highest in drug addiction and prison populations. Many people are apathetic, though the top heavy economy has created enough pressure to have universal health care and a social welfare system more generous I believe than any other state. The book Land and Power in Hawaii gets into the whole history, and some on how the inequality has lead to the high levels of corruption, ineffectual government with layers of bureaucracy, shitty unions, poor schools (1/3rd of high school students are in private schools so there is little incentive amongst the ruling class to fund education), shitty libraries, inadequate infrastructure, and a host of other problems.
The reaction from the elite in Hawaii to create a social welfare state is similar to me to Bismarck in Germany introducing housing, pensions, accident insurance, medical care and unemployment insurance and so on. He took the threat from the left very seriously (and workers leaving for the US) and convinced the wealthy conservatives that this would keep them in power, and it did.
The implications for the future of the US will be interesting, if horrid.
Here's the vid:
Last edited by patfromlogan; 11/26/2013 4:29pm at ."Preparing mentally, the most important thing is, if you aren't doing it for the love of it, then don't do it." - Benny Urquidez
11/26/2013 6:56pm, #2
Video has been posted Bullshido before, but it was not the main topic of the thread, if I recall correctly.Falling for Judo since 1980
11/26/2013 7:50pm, #3
Wow that video sucks.
It's not useful in anyway. Asking people what their preferred wealth distribution is means nothing because the results are easily skewed based on peoples knowledge on the subject. Most people are ignorant on the topic and their "preferences" are highly manipulated by social events. The Occupy wallstreet movement swayed people in one direction while the republican primaries likely swayed them in the other. Neither event actually educated the average person on the problems though.
Contrary to what the narrator says, more is required to fix it than simply "waking up". Most people know inequality is a problem today. Videos like this do nothing to shed light on the causal problems behind or on possible solutions. Real solutions involve real study and real problem solving. There is no easy answer and anyone saying there is, is lying to you.
Go read Joseph Stiglitz's "The price of inequality". The key points to take from that book, and there are many others, are 1) that the US education system fucks the system over and 2) that tax policy, capital gains tax in particular, leads to increasing inequality.
11/30/2013 5:12pm, #4
I've seen the video before as it is on Facebook. A bit of a shocker, really.
12/09/2013 1:43pm, #5
I agree, what to do is the question. Though, elipson, I don't agree that the video is not valid about opinions. The Harvard study interviewed 5000 people - that 's a large sampling.
is from http://www.motherjones.com/politics/...ca-chart-graph It shows some graphs on the subject. http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html has lots of info for those who care.
With the stock market's enormous gains the situation of inequality is just getting worse. The bottom 2/3rds of American households owns about 3% of securities, with the top 1% owning about 1/3 and the top 5% owning 3/4ths. Something about it, it seems that the stock market is simply trading stocks thanks to the infusion of Federal Reserve credit expansion - I don't know how long it will be before the public gets pissed enough to do something. Here in Hawaii the Hawaiians have been screwed so long that they accept it as reality."Preparing mentally, the most important thing is, if you aren't doing it for the love of it, then don't do it." - Benny Urquidez
12/10/2013 2:50am, #6
Inequality isn't an issue if the masses have roofs over their head, gas in their cars, food in their bellies and i-phones in their pockets. Well not enough of an issue that is for people to get off their lazy asses to do anything about it.
What can they really do anyways? The people with the money are not about to just give it up. Nor are you going to get a critical enough mass of people to agree to change the group of elected officials. Especially in an age where people can pretty much hear what they want to hear when it comes to news.
Not that it isn't a problem, it is, its not a sustainable model but you know we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
12/10/2013 1:07pm, #7
If someone equals my effort, they will likely equal my wealth.
12/10/2013 2:15pm, #8
12/10/2013 2:18pm, #9
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
I would suggest that the poor stay at home feeling sorry for themselves while I gets mines. After all, they have no choice. It's out of their control. I was born superior to them, right?
12/10/2013 3:24pm, #10
Social mobility has been falling drastically in the US for years. A person with parents of the same socio-economic status, and therefore has access to the same level of education, will likely equal your level of wealth. That's not an opinion of mine, it's the reality of America.
Originally Posted by Devil
Taking surveys on peoples opinions on wealth inequality is pretty useless. Really all it does is demonstrate the level of ignorance the average person has about the system they live in. It doesn't give any kind of guidance as to what an acceptable level of inequality would be. A persons perception on what is an acceptable level is completely based on their upbringing and education, therefore completely biased.
If stocks are how the rich are getting richer than everyone should be doing them. I started learning this summer and started buying stocks. Not much, but every paycheck I put some money into different stocks. If you are cautious (invest conservatively and be well diversified) and take the time to learn a little bit, it's not rocket science.