The insane economic growth of our wealthiest

We’re all getting used to reading graphs lately right? Most of us can see the problem here but this is a problem for the environment too. We know it’s a human rights issue and you can’t untangle that from environmentalism. We know inequality is getting worse in many places and that is correlated with a bucketload of social issues. We know that getting up to work 8 – 14 hour days for the rest of our lives is not beneficial to the environment, wellbeing and relationships. Nor is it the point of life. We know that ‘trickle down’ economics does not work (as hard as some parties are fighting for it). Inequality is not an accident; it is a necessary feature of this capitalism.

The richest amongst us aren’t just wielding power over their lives; they’re wielding it over the world. The secret of being rich is that next to nobody got there from ethical and sustainable practises. Wealth (and that includes small wealth any of us might have) is largely built on the back of exploitation, resource extraction, colonization or destruction. You can’t work 24 hours per day and make millions through just your own labor. Generally speaking, the more you have, the more you’ve (or those you inherited from) have exploited. And the more money you have the more likely you are to indulge in ‘philanthropic’ foundations which are often feel-good initiatives that distract from the problems the wealthy have created whilst simultaneously concentrating money on a cause of their own choosing; rather than through public interest or democratic means. It doesn’t mean you can’t have wealth but maybe after 99 million it’s enough?

We have to sincerely resolve to reduce inequality with policies *and* we have to transform our economic system. If we don’t do this? Our environment hasn’t got much hope and neither does our precarious balance on progressing democracy.

To get started:

_ A thick, often dry, book but we recommend reading Piketty’s work in Capitalism in the 21st Century_

_ The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett_

_ Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas