This is a transcript of this radio interview, Chuck Collins- Wealth Inequality, Billionaires and Psychopaths, which was broadcast on December 2, 2015
Thanks to Tsara Shelton for helping with the transcript editing.
Rob: Welcome to Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show sponsored by opednews.com. My guest tonight, a return guest, is Chuck Collins. He is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, co-editor for inequality.org and he's written several books. The more recent ones are 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It. And a book co-authored with Bill Gates' dad titled Wealth and Our Commonwealth. I'm having him back on the show because he just co-authored a report titled Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us. Welcome back.
CC: Hey thanks for having me Rob.
Rob: It's a pleasure. So this is a powerful report. I want to get into the report and then I want to go some places where I've done a lot of writing about billionaires and extreme wealth lately, or the ultra rich. So can you give us a summary of what's in the report?
CC: Sure, what we looked at was how wealth is concentrating in fewer and fewer hands. You know, a few years ago we talked about the 99 to 1. In the last few years we've learned that most of the income and wealth gains have gone to the top one-tenth of one percent. And now we're seeing huge concentrations flowing up to the billionaires, to the Forbes 400, to the tippy toppy of the wealth space needle. And so one of our findings is the wealthiest twenty individuals now, enough that could fit on Gulfstream 650 private jet. 200, 20 people have as much wealth as the bottom half of the US households. So 20 people have more wealth than half the population combined.
Rob: Incredible. And you give a lot of additional stats related to different racial populations, it's even worse for African Americans and Latinos.
CC: Yeah we wanted to look at, because we know that, again in the last ten years there's been a growing wealth divide. After the economic meltdown of 2008, there's kind of an implosion of African American wealth, there's many people lost their homes, or lost home equity. So the Forbes 400, again that wealthiest 400 individuals today has more wealth than the entire African American population, plus about a third of the Latino population combined. Sixty million people. That is just a reflection, because there are very few people of color on the Forbes 400 list. So we're talking about essentially, mostly, enormous concentration of white wealth ownership. That has a real impact on the rest of us.