Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Political capture and economic inequality

A new report by Oxfam illustrates the clear links between the political power of the rich and increasing inequalites. If you do not think this is a problem, reflect about this: the 85 richest individuals in the world have the same wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest people on the planet. Here is what the report says:
"This massive concentration of economic resources in the hands of fewer people presents a significant threat to inclusive political and economic systems. Instead of moving forward together, people are increasingly separated by economic and political power, inevitably heightening social tensions and increasing the risk of societal breakdown. Oxfam’s polling from across the world captures the belief of many that laws and regulations are now designed to benefit the rich. A survey in six countries (Spain, Brazil, India, South Africa, the UK and the US) showed that a majority of people believe that laws are skewed in favor of the rich. The impact of political capture is striking. Rich and poor countries alike are affected. Financial deregulation, skewed tax systems and rules facilitating evasion, austerity economics, policies that disproportionately harm women, and captured oil and mineral revenues are all examples given in this paper. The short cases included are each intended to offer a sense of how political capture produces ill gotten wealth, which perpetuates economic inequality"

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