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Inequality matters. SO Should being a billionaire be allowed?


Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon makes $275 million a day

Breaking that down, it means that Bezos makes $11.5 million per hour, which is roughly $191,000 per minute, or $3,182 every single second. We live in the age of the ultra-rich, and in many ways, we often demonise the individuals. However, they simply flourished in a society and system that allowed them to accumulate this much wealth in the first place.

A few months ago the US Democratic Presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Tweeted "Amazon made $11,200,000,000 in profits last year. Its federal income tax bill: ZERO. It is simply not true that we cannot afford to invest in housing or health care or education. We will make massive corporations finally pay their fair share."

How can it be that while over 736 million people live below the poverty line (according to 2015 data so the number is expected to be considerably higher today), while one human being accumulates this much wealth?

Inequality isn't only unjust per se, it plays a major role in causing social unrest, violent conflicts, mass migration or climate change. Tackling these global issues requires to fight systemic inequality itself.

Welcome back to FairPlanet's weekly roundup, and this time we'll be looking at wealth inequality and the very systems that created it.

The good

Philanthropy donates hundreds of billions a year to charitable causes

While data on global donations is not as readily available, it is noted that the US and the UK – which are also the countries with the largest amount of ultra-rich, or the 1% as they are called – donated approximately $440 billion in 2019 alone. Of that figure, Americans' contribution comes to almost 90%.

The questions however remain: what really is philanthropy and how much is this charitable giving used for personal gains and indeed further acceleration of corporate and individual wealth as well as power. In his show 'The Patriot Act', journalist and comedian Hasan Minhaj examines how billionaires use philanthropy to enhance their fortunes, influence public policy and distract from questionable business ethics.

While philanthropy can be great, as long as we live within capitalist systems that allow such income gaps to form, charitable donation should be vigilantly examined and certainly not taken as a positive action in all circumstances.

The bad

the ultra-rich are not a global phenomenon

According to Our World In Data, the "top income inequality is measured as the share of total income that goes to the income earners at the very top of the distribution. Usually the top 1%." But as you can see from the visualisation the site has created, unlike the discourse currently on the media, adverse wealth inequality is not a global issue, but an issue wholly dedicated to English speaking countries in the 'West'.

The usual suspects are major players in this, such as the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and Ireland (where corporate tax breaks are rife and thus unfold a red carpet for tech giants). It is the systems, and not necessarily human greed (although that certainly plays a part to this) that allow such disparity between the rich and the very poor.

Facets of Global Inequality
poverty wealth

Yawning wealth gap a pointer to everything that is wrong with the world

by Bob Koigi

Our economy is broken, with hundreds of millions of people living in extreme poverty while huge rewards go to those at the very top.
Oxfam image

Wealth inequality: the yawning gulf continues to widen

by Gurmeet Singh

Although living standards are rising globally, and deep poverty is being eradicated – the gap between the richest and the poorest is widening, not closing.

Trapped at the bottom

by Maria João Morais

“The world has also learned that economic growth, by itself, cannot close the gap between rich and poor.” (Dalai Lama XIV)
gender pay gap

Gender Wealth Gap Costs the World $160 Trillion

As world leaders gathered for the G7 in Canada, they had to face a conundrum: While economic growth remains steady in the developed world, inequality is rising.
Country focus

While being the eighth-largest country in Europe, Finland is one of the most dispersedly populated nations in the continent. Since its independence from Russia in 1917, Finland has been a frontrunner for progress across the world. According to the BBC, "It scores consistently well on international ratings for stability, freedom, public safety and social progress."

Equality and diversity is also a major part of Finland's culture and politics. The country's parliament was the first to adopt full gender equality, granting men and women the right not only to vote but also to stand for election in as early as 1906.

Income inequality in Finland remains markedly lower than the average of all EU member states.

Today Finland is a part of Scandanavia, operating as part of the Europen Union, with its capital Helsinki is striving toward becoming a major hub for companies to grow and thrive in.