Tuesday, October 7, 2014
When meritocracy turns into crony plutocracy...
For my come back to my blog, I wanted to write about something serious, something that would make a good fresh start to this new academic year. Well, what immediately came to my mind was inequality around the world. I did my little research, as usual, and came upon a very interesting and shocking TedTalks video called "The rise of the new global super-rich", lead by a woman named Chrystia Freeland. As you may have guessed, the reason why I researched this topic was exactly because I felt like we live in an era of massive inequalities, and yet also in an era of massive lack of concern for nearly everything. So, imagine my surprise when Chrystia Freeland started giving some random numbers "just to give an idea" of how rich people have gotten richer these last 40 years. In the 1970s 1% of the United States' population had about 10% of the national income, which is kind of a lot. Obviously, the nowadays numbers are far worse (or better, according to where you stand). Nowadays, 1% of the the U.S' population has around 20% of the national income, which is twice as much as in the 1970s. And a last number, just to freak you out a little more, the very tip top rich people, which constitutes 0,1% of the U.S' population, has nowadays 8% of the national income of the U.S, which is half of what the 1% rich people has, and nearly the same percentage of what it used to have in the 1970s.
Now, I know that I'm a little bit of a radical, but with those type of numbers, aren't you getting a little radical too? Basically, my conspiracy theories are not that far-fetched, and what I used to tell as a (semi) joke, actually is the truth, and instead of that making me happy, it is making me both mad and sad. It's not just about some people starving and some people being richer than can be anymore. It is about rich people being a teeny tiny part of the world's population and the rest of the world having its leftovers! Rich people have gotten richer and richer, while the rest of the world has been stagnating, or even decreasing. And it thus leads me to think about the consequences of such a state of affairs. They're not just economic ones! This clearly means that people from that social rank have everything in their power to make their life and that of their siblings better. Am I kidding myself? Not better, grandiose! These people are in a bubble from where everything can be bought. From the day they were born to the day they die they remain incredibly rich, having access to the best of schools, tutors, universities, career opportunities, housings, lifestyles, interest rates, and whatever else comes to your mind. Isn't this pure injustice?
I understand the meritocracy concept of working to get money that you have earned with your sweat. But this not about meritocracy anymore. It is purely plutocracy. We live in a world where most of the population lives a certain type of life, and then some very few other people live in a microcosm of the world where everything can be adapted to their better convenience because they have the economic power in their hands. I find it so very disappointing to find all this data pointing into this same direction that screams economic inequality and injustice, at a time when things were supposed to go better for the world as a whole. If this is the way the world rolls, then imagine how the global population of the whole planet could be living with all this money in the hands of the few lucky ones. And if we even go a little further, imagine how much better the world population would be if the world's money was redistributed equally! Anyway, I know how this sounds, and I know it is futile to have those types of dreams, but I just can't help it. I just wish the people of the world could refashion the world as it was meant to be, a world shining with beauty and equality.
Here's the Tedtalk video I mentioned earlier:
Have a great day, and keep your mind sharp!