Shock news: the eight richest people in the world own as much as the poorer half of the rest of us. Something must be wrong. But what can it be? After all, capitalism is the fairest and most
efficient economic system. Everyone knows that. It's a fact and force of nature.
So perhaps we just need to make capitalism better: make rich people pay their taxes; reduce the pay gap
between bosses and workers; redistribute the wealth we all produce a little more fairly. And of course that would help. It's the social democratic or reformist solution.
But is that all we can hope for? A few more crumbs from the bosses' table? After all, we make everything on the table. And we made the table.
Economic inequality is more than
a problem with capitalism. It's the problem of capitalism: competitive production for private profit.
This wretched system creates and relies on economic
inequality - a hierarchy of wealth with a tiny minority of the fabulously rich at the top, more of us more or less comfortable enough not to complain, and by far most of us more or less scraping along from day to day, or sinking into poverty.
And we're supposed to think this is the natural and inevitable state of affairs in our world - that inequality is a necessary evil if we want the 'benefits of economic growth'.
Capitalist investment is driven by the greed and fear of capitalists, and the rest of us are forced to live with that greed and fear, competing with each other and workers around the world to 'get on' or at least avoid
We pay too high a price for their artificial competition for profit. Capitalism doesn't work equally well for all of us, because it can't.
How we get over capitalism is our big issue, but that's what we have to do. We need a productive system that works equally well for all of us, so that everyone has equal access to what we all produce
co-operatively, so that 'equal opportunity' becomes real, and not just an obfuscatory slogan.
Only collectively can all of us thrive equally as individuals.
17 January 2017