I watched a documentary on TV Ontario last night called “The Super-Rich and Us.” Shot mostly in London, England, Jacques Peretti investigate how the rich became richer, and the poor became poorer due to economic disadvantages. Some of the stats were quite startling. In 1970, a banker in Britain earned as much as a teacher and a GP (General Practitioner or Doctor). The richest 1% of the population controlled 6% of the nation’s wealth; in 1980s, the percentage grew to 11%, and currently the richest 1% controlled more than 15% of great Britain’s wealth.
Even more startling is the fact that the richest 85 people on earth own more than one half of the world’s total assets. You can count Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Jack Ma, Jeff Bezos in the notable list.
According to various research conducted, all these wealth have been created at the expense of the other. One author advocated the Glass Hour theory. The rich (top of the glass hour) and the poor (bottom half of the glass) both gained at the expense of the middle class (the middle of the glass hour). Wealth was created out of intangible with trading options, ala Black -Scholes model. Also, debt was packaged and resold. Tons of money were made by a few. Meanwhile, a juxtaposition showed a seedy side of London, with people panhandling and struggling on the streets. Neon signs were lit up on pawnshops, payday loans and dollars store.
A professor of Economics indicated that debt is the root of all evil as government forces people to go into debt (think mortgages, line of credit ,and etc.) by encouraging people to own homes so that the people can be controlled (think about no striking at work, forces to work to pay off mortgage).
Even though it is a one-sided theme, I can ‘t help thinking how we currently live our life from childhood, getting a good education, enter the work forces, slave away for thirty to forty years to pay off mortgages, student loans, kids’ education, and saving for retirement. We are essentially trapped. There has to be a better way to live. Imagine we don’t have to study so hard in order to get good grades so that we can find a good job for keeps so that we can continue paying off our debt. Would life not be better? You would then find yourself in the bottom half of the hour glass, living off social welfare (which is also a form of exploitation, in my opinion)
There were many other interesting aspects of the show that I could go on and elaborate, but I hope you can catch try to watch the show if there was a replay or on the web.