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If We Equally Divided the World's Wealth

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Message Roger Copple
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Image taken from page 165 of 'Die Erde. Eine allgemeine Erd- und Landerkunde, etc'
Image taken from page 165 of 'Die Erde. Eine allgemeine Erd- und Landerkunde, etc'
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If We Equally Divided the World's Wealth

If we essentially divided the world's wealth equally and ubiquitously created true democracy that would basically solve the world's problems. Someone recently said to me, "The United States is not responsible for all the problems of the world." But I would say, if we caused the problems, then we are responsible. And it seems like we have caused most of the major problems of the world. See William Blum's website and John Tirman's book, with a Foreword by Howard Zinn: "100 Ways America Is Screwing Up the World."

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Would the world be better without the United States? We can ask the world that question. We can ask every single country that question. We can ask them to answer honestly and not out of fear of the United States. Which country causes the most fear? Maybe that's a good question too. Which country shows the most cooperation, compassion, fairness, egalitarianism, democracy, ecological wisdom, and voluntary simplicity? It is certainly not the United States.

Countries have characteristics just like individuals do. We the citizens of the United States need to show more compassion for the world by somehow changing the United States government. It's killing everything, including us. What country kills the most--people, animals, and plants? I am afraid to hear the answers from every single country. Will we care about their answers?

It should be simple and easy to solve world problems. Just think of the world as a family, and each family member has a different personality. We may not always agree with family members, but we still love them.

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Which country has the most nuclear weapons to kill people? Is that anything to be proud of? Which country every year spends the most outrageous amount of money on the military? We should feel ashamed. Which country has the most billionaires who are making the world worse, not better? Is this the best we can do as a nation?

In my retirement lately, I have been studying a college textbook. It has over 800 pages, a soft-cover book that seemingly weighs about 4 pounds. It is called The West in the World: A History of Western Civilization, Fourth Edition, by Dennis Sherman and Joyce Salisbury, published in 2011. I got the book at a used book store. I didn't even have to pay 2 or 3 dollars for the book. It was free in a box of books in front of the store. Apparently it was considered an unsellable item.

Learning about history is what I want to learn. Sometimes I spend 30 minutes on a page. There are so many important details that are hard to remember because we don't think everyday about the events from our past, but maybe we should. As I now read about history and study the pictures too as an adult learner reading for intrinsic reasons--it seems every page makes me feel angry toward the aristocracy and the Catholic and Protestant churches (which usually have sided with the aristocracy); and every page makes me feel sad for the misery and unhappiness of the poor and downtrodden that have suffered for thousands of years. It is a sad, sad tale--a tragedy. Sometimes it makes me feel like weeping, but I force myself to keep reading. This time, I started at the middle of the book with the 13th and 14th centuries. I read the entire book a few years ago. Of course, we all know that 2 major world wars (the biggest tragedies of all) occurred roughly in just the last 100 years. Things are not getting better, but we should feel assured knowing that there is a cause for every effect. We have to find the reasons the world is so screwed up.

Using Ecosia as my search engine (it's supposedly planting trees with each search), I found the following information when I did a search of "If we divided the world's wealth equally." Here is what I found at reddit.com:

"If wealth was equally distributed in America, every family would own $ 528,420 in assets. Most of us living in the richest nation in the world don't feel like that at all. I am a firm believer in meritocratic capitalism. If a guy is doing great work, it's ok for him to earn 10 times more, or 20 times more than others -- but not thousands of times more. There are vanishingly few uber-geniuses whose work is both handsomely paid and utterly good for society. An enormous number of high earners do us NO good; in fact, in 2008 their greed and short-sightedness crashed the world's economy. They are not beneficial.

Fact: in 2013, the median wealth of an American family was $ 81,400.00. But if all wealth in the country was divided equally (which I do not advocate, for it is against meritocracy) every family would own $ 528,420.00 in assets. There must be a gap to reward merit, but this is too wide. I believe the median should be much closer to the mean. We need to quantify these things in the debate; America can understand this. We must use words like median and mean, and then explain why it's crucial to understand them in order to correct the distortion. For non-math people, this is easy! For example, if 10 people earn these amounts per task: $2, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 11, 13, and $23,735, the mean or average makes them look like a wealthy group: $2,379 on average! But the median tells us it's not true: a median of $6.50.

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In other words, the fact that Bill Gates and I have a combined wealth of 79 billion does not make us two the wealthiest guys in the world. Therefore, living in America with so many billionaires does not make Americans the wealthiest people, just the wealthiest country on Earth. Source for data: http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/scf/scfindex.htm 47 Comments" (End of 3-Paragraph Quote)

The writer above says that every family in the United States could earn $528,420 a year, which seems like a very high amount. The writer states that he or she believes in meritocracy by saying it's okay for people to get 10 or 20 times more than others, but not thousands of times more. Most people would essentially agree with that, but I think the ratio between the highest and lowest annual incomes for the whole world should be 10:1, and ultimately we could strive for 3:1. The earth has an ecological carrying capacity. The earth desperately needs the wealthiest people to choose lifestyles of voluntary simplicity. If it would take 4 earths for everyone in the world to have the lifestyle of the average American, then it shows that it is not just the United States government but the lifestyles of the American people that are primarily responsible for preventing world peace and destroying the planet.

The World Bank says almost half of the world is living on less than $5.50 a day; that is $2,007.50 a year (365 x 5.50). We could guarantee that every world citizen over the age of 18 has an annual income of $12,000. The lowest hourly wage for meaningful work could be $15 per hour, which is about $30,000 a year. Any annual income above $120,000 throughout the world could be taxed at 100 percent. To reduce the world's ecological footprint and show international fairness, some Left Greens might say that these worldly wage rates need to be reduced even more, as we encourage more of the wealthiest people throughout the world to choose voluntary simplicity--to protect, restore, and heal our fragile earth. Reducing our military budget by 90 percent--as we close down our 700-1000 military bases around the world and dismantle all nuclear weapons--will allow us to use our tax revenues in more humanistic ways. As other nations reciprocate, we could reduce our military spending even more. If a Democratic World Federal Government built from the bottom up supports plans like this, I think most world citizens would want a democratic world government. The United States is an Empire, but the countries of the world do not want or need an empire controlling them. We, the citizens of the world, do not want an empire controlling us.

Currently the world is endangered because the wealthiest one percent keeps getting more powerful. We are moving toward a New World Order, controlled from the top-down by fascist oligarchs. We still have time to change this. As I see it, democracy--authentic and participatory democracy--is what can save us and the world, and also egalitarianism--radical egalitarianism. Moreover, the world's wealthiest individuals need to choose voluntary simplicity. Essentially we need a "New Culture, New Constitution, New Everything." Here is "The Most Democratic Way to Have a Constitutional Convention" and here are "15 Proposals that Could Make Our Nation and the World a Better Place." You can also read these articles at my website www.NowSaveTheWorld.com.

(Article changed on July 5, 2019 at 21:14)

 

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June 4, 2019: I grew up in a church that said you had to speak in tongues to get saved and go to heaven. I often prayed fervently for the experience in the prayer room at church, where people would cry and wail, and roll on the floor. One (more...)
 

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3 people are discussing this page, with 9 comments


Stan Crawford

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If you want a reality check go to .globalrichlist.com/ to see just how fortunate you are. I rank around the 350,000 richest person in the world, and I sure don't feel like this is accurate, but I know I have it better than most; being a white male, US citizen with no progeny.


I lived/worked in four different Chinese cities (4th tier Jiujiang, Jiangxi, 4th tier Wuhu, Anhui, 2nd tier Chengdu, Sichuan and 4th tier Taizhou, Zheijiang; from 03-15. China ranks its cities based off off population, economic GDP and tourism. 1st tier cities Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, etc. Teaching at medical schools related to hospitals my great great grandfather built between 1866-1901 and this is my website: .chinamissions.com/ Both young Chinese and Indian students desire what western students do and like you pointed out the earth just does not possess adequate resources to satiate all. I'm just thankful I lived in a time of plenty for some, while living as humbly as I have.


Referring to the "Globalists" who run things, it looks like the Chinese model of surveillance state and credit score are going to become the standard to control the masses. No microchip insertion necessary when we all are connected through the cell-phone that tracks/records your daily activity five times every minute.


As the country's political parties alternate to occupy the White House, all president's are tasked with an pre-set agenda and tRump's is to continue the Greater Israel ME regime change and collapse of the $.


Be thankful you made it to retirement, most on this planet don't make it past age 5. I too am in my slow downward slide in life and just do what makes me joyful.



Submitted on Wednesday, Jul 3, 2019 at 2:53:14 PM

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Roger Copple

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Hi Stan Crawford, I had found that Global Rich List website http://www.globalrichlist.com/ in my search before I wrote the article, and I was going to include it, but it seemed unbelievably distorted. For example, in my retirement, I live on about $25,000 a year, and it said that I am in the top 2.24% of the richest people in the world by income, and it said I'm the 134,158, 250th richest person on earth.

The following website shows world population changing by the second which is now 7,715,118,091: https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/.

If the Global Rich List figures above are accurate, it proves my point. Why should half of the world live in deep squalor without clean drinking water and without adequate food, shelter, and intellectual stimulation, while the other half lives extravagantly by comparison? Thanks for sharing.


Submitted on Wednesday, Jul 3, 2019 at 4:18:00 PM

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Roger Copple

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My son, Ryan, responded to my article and gave me permission to post his response here. Maybe other readers can respond to his comments as well:

Here are a few thoughts regarding your article.

I'm still a little confused why rich people are bad for the world. I don't believe you provided any specific examples or a reasonable amount of data. There's not some finite amount of wealth in the world and the rich people are taking it all. Poor people have an opportunity to accumulate new wealth that's produced in the world. I'm playing devil's advocate a little, but maybe even more important than inequality is socioeconomic mobility. Also, I believe many people are financially illiterate which leads to inequality.

"Things are not getting better, but we should feel assured knowing that there is a cause for every effect. We have to find the reasons the world is so screwed up."

23 charts and maps that show the world is getting much, much better

Not sure if I agree with this article about meritocracy, but I thought it was thought provoking:

Meritocracy doesn't exist, and believing it does is bad for you

"An enormous number of high earners do us NO good; in fact, in 2008 their greed and short-sightedness crashed the world's economy. They are not beneficial"

-- Can you be more specific about why high earners are no good, or destructive to the world?

--- It's true that Wall Street crashed the economy with their subprime AAA loans, but who invested in those loans... Everyone in America did with their 401k or pension.

Love Ryan


Submitted on Thursday, Jul 4, 2019 at 11:39:29 PM

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tim mcghie

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in reply to your last paragraph..... Everyone in America didn't get bailed out with taxpayer dollars and then receive a multi-million dollar bonus for doing such a terrible job of investing their money! this was intentional fraud. white collar crime is seldom punished unless you steal from the rich-ask Bernie Madoff

Submitted on Friday, Jul 5, 2019 at 2:43:13 AM

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Roger Copple

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Richard D. Wolff is probably the world's most popular Marxist economist. You can find his many educational and entertaining lectures at his website and also on youtube. Here is his 4th of July message:

Roger --

On this 4th of July, when Americans think about the nation's independence, it is partly under dark clouds.

The Trump/GOP regime, desperately trying to "make America great again," has chosen to make independence aggressive. It has attacked not an old King George representing a dying monarchism, but rising Chinese competitors. It has attacked poor immigrants and refugees mocking the words written on the Statue of Liberty. It celebrates extreme wealth, extreme inequality, and deregulated profiteering at home and extreme right-wing and repressive governments from Brazil to Hungary. It abandons multilateral agreements and global multilateral organizations at a time when interdependence is more deeply embedded in the world's economy, politics, and culture than ever before. Such steps carry immense risks - political, economic, and military - that the Trump/GOP ignore or dismiss.

The crisis goes far beyond its worst symptom: Trump, and the GOP that has fallen in behind him. Threats to humble China, "obliterate" Iran, ignore Europe, change the Venezuelan and Cuban regimes plus massive support for governments like Saudi Arabia: this list of such policies and programs keeps growing. Trump and the GOP do it while over 30% of Americans relish the cheap boasting and bravado. And the real establishment that runs US capitalism - the CEOs of the corporate giants, their partners (often temporarily on loan from their CEO positions) who wear the top hats of government, their spokespersons in academia and the media: they allow it. Enjoying their tax cuts, enhanced military budgets, and deregulated freedom to put profits first, they don't stop the mad independence train as it careens down the tracks. The costs of Trump/GOP programs are huge and rising; the benefits to the mass of Americans few and insecure.

Most empires die by means of self-destruction. July 4, 2019 reminds us of that history. Yet other kinds of independence are being discovered, pursued, and won. Bernie proved that we can win independence from the rigid taboo against thinking, talking or acting about alternatives to capitalism, ways for the US to do better than capitalism. AOC and many others have since proved how it is possible to go far beyond the shared complicities of the two major parties, to gain real independence from them. Either they will take the Democratic Party where they are going, or they will need to break and make a new party; their constituents, activists, and followers want one or the other.

Millions of Americans are rethinking what the economy and the government should do for the people. They are breaking away from old political, economic, and cultural assumptions, as well as beliefs and organizations unwilling to adapt to the new conditions and demands. They see the need to rebuild or build anew the independent (non-complicit) organizations needed to go beyond the status quo, and its increasingly desperate efforts to survive its self-destruction.

It is in this change where we can place our hope for the future of this country.

Thank you very much for reading, and for supporting our work. Every bit helps as we continue to educate ourselves on the American economic system and how we can redefine an American Dream for all.

Richard D. Wolff

Founder

Democracy at Work


Submitted on Friday, Jul 5, 2019 at 12:07:22 AM

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Roger Copple

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This is a good article by Dave Lindorff, published at OpEdNews on July 4, 2019:

Submitted on Friday, Jul 5, 2019 at 9:37:42 PM

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Roger Copple

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This is a good article by Dave Lindorff, published at OpEdNews on July 4, 2019: What's to celebrate? US is a Classic Empire and is Becoming a Repressive Police State at Home I posted this article in my above message, but by mistake, I provided a link to page 2 of the article instead of page 1. This link is to page 1, as it should be.

Here are some other good articles about the Fourth of July, 2019 that I want to remember when I refer back to this article "If We Equally Shared the World's Wealth" in the future because they express the same sentiment:

"How do you celebrate a flawed Nation" by Jill Richardson

"On the anniversary of US Independence, a Nazi shadow is cast across the land" by Wayne Madsen

"It's time to declare your independence from tyranny, America" by John W. Whitehead

"Unhappy thoughts for the Fourth of July" by Paul Craig Roberts

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 6, 2019 at 2:05:06 PM

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Roger Copple

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In my article I mentioned that the United States government prevents world peace, and the lifestyles of Americans are destroying the planet. In this article The CIA is Global Capitalism's Secret Gangster Army , Jeff J. Brown, its author, shares his interview of Douglas Valentine, an expert on the CIA. It is an excellent interview about how corrupt and sinister the CIA is, which is why the United States government is not making the world a better place. Here is Douglas Valentine's website: http://www.douglasvalentine.com/

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 6, 2019 at 7:25:13 PM

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Roger Copple

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Celebrate 243 Years of Profitable Genocide by Jay Janson on July 4, 2019

Submitted on Sunday, Jul 7, 2019 at 3:14:20 AM

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