Income inequality has been in the news this past week more than normal. It appears to have been triggered by the recent report released by Oxfam entitled “Working for the Few – Political Capture and Economic Inequality.
The major sound byte picked up by the media from the report was this one: “The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.” That is a striking and very sad figure to contemplate for most of us.
The report is only a few pages long and I encourage you to click above and read it.
Here are a few other worrisome statistics:
- Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population.
- The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.
- Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.
- In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.
But the report is not all gloom and doom. It does offer a number of recommendations on how we can address this.
In other income inequality news, USA Today/Pew issued some results of Americans’ perceptions regarding the topic. Here’s an interesting quote from the story:
“Indeed, at a time when Republicans and Democrats disagree about almost everything, on this there is virtually no partisan gap: 61% of Republicans, 68% of Democrats and 67% of independents think economic inequality has been growing in the United States over the past decade.”
Fifty-one percent of us think that the rich got richer because of more advantages they already possessed. Although I guess I am glad that this rising inequality is bringing us together, I suspect the question will be if we have the will to do anything about it. News reports indicate that President Obama’s upcoming state of the union speech will focus in part on this topic.
There was some good news this week in regards to the percentage of Americans who do not have health insurance. A report from Gallop indicate that the “U.S. uninsured rate is 16.1% so far in January, modestly down from 17.3% in December after the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for Americans to have health insurance took effect on Jan. 1.” Whether or not the decline was due to the positive effects of the Affordable Care Act depended upon which news source you listened to. But it is a good statistic, none the less. Hopefully it is the beginning of a trend. By the way, one of the recommendations of the Oxfam report was to increase the number of people who have access to health care.
So what should we make of all of this?
One of the underlying themes of Conscious Bridge — and my beliefs — is that we are all connected….everything is connected—and that we are evolving in our awareness of that oneness. With such a belief, one then is called to see the income and opportunity inequalities within the world as a moral issue. I am connected to both those “85” people and to those who live in poverty and to everyone in between. Although I believe that everyone should have an opportunity to live their life purpose and to succeed in life — even becoming wealthy, I also believe that we have a moral imperative to ensure that everyone has the equal opportunity to live their life purpose and to succeed in life.
Each of us needs to take a stand FOR such EQUAL OPPORTUNITY.
As I have written about many times, all of us suffer when the least among us is not having their basic needs met. Every person by virtue of their being human should have access to clean water and air, healthy food, adequate shelter, good education, the opportunity to work and make a decent wage, to feel a degree of peace, safety and security in their lives. All of Maslow’s lower needs must be “a given” for everyone…..
Then, from that space, everyone then should have an opportunity to advance to “higher needs”—to become all they can be (self actualize) and to follow their hearts, live their passion and answer their personal calling in life.
When we keep one another from succeeding and living the highest possible life, we are only hurting ourselves in the long run.
We need to release our sense of fear of others, our sense of being in competition with one another—it’s time to change course and move in the direction of love, cooperation and equal opportunity for all. I know that somewhere in our hearts we know this at the deepest level of our being.
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!