Tuesday, 17 January 2017

purchasing power or less than zero

On the first day of the World Economic Forum in Davos amidst discussion on grave income disparity, Oxfam presents a thought-provoking corollary to the already sobering news that half the wealth in the world is concentrated in the estates of eight individuals: if one, minus debt, can clear the net worth of one penny, then one has a greater fortune than forty percent of the people in the world.
Of course this claim needs some unpacking and context in order for it not to seem glib and relativistic since just like those figures about populations subsisting on less than a dollar a day, savings and loans are not the same everywhere. The poorest tenth because of indebtedness, usually generational, have a net worth of a negative trillion dollars and one has to climb several rungs of deciles just to get to zero. Nearly three billion souls are already excluded from the reckoning of those invested eight because they have no money or its all already spent and that elect-percentile need only control the half of the money in circulation that’s not leveraged—not that that gap isn’t already obscene and beckoning the pitchforks.