Eleven charts that explain what’s wrong with America. A good primer on income inequality from Mother Jones.
The New York Time has published an article on the decline of the US middle class compared to Canada and Western Europe: The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest.
The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction.
While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.
The Times research is based on surveys conducted over the past 35 years. The data was analyzed by researchers at LIS (a group affiliated with the Luxembourg Income Study Database) and The Upshot (a NY Times web site). The results were reviewed by outside experts.
The article points out the deception of averages. Statistics such as per capita GDP remains strong for the US, but only because the gains at the top offset the losses at the middle and bottom.
The article cites three factors behind the lackluster performance of US income: education, compensation practices, and government policies. These work together create what is a central theme of Plutocracy Ascendant: the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor and middle class.
I was debating how to start Plutocracy Ascendant, when this quote came across my FaceBook feed. Of course the quote is from the mouth of a fictional character facing fictional evils, but it applies as well to real people facing the evils of the day. The very rich and the corporations have so much money and power that nothing seems able to stand in the way of them remaking the world in their own image. The middle class will diminish, working conditions will deteriorate, poverty will be rampant, and the planet will be raped for natural resources — except for little cocoons preserved by the wealthy for their own enjoyment. Yet there is hope that this will not come about. This hope drives me to write Plutocracy Ascendant. There is some good in the world, and it’s worth fighting for.
I do not consider myself an activist. I am too old to go to New York City and camp out in Zuccotti Park with Occupy Wall Street. I have a career and family on the line, so I am not willing to risk arrest. However, I can read and I can write. I can share knowledge, invite discussion and make a small contribution to a better future.
Wish me luck as I undertake this venture.