At some point, when we stop running from the words “Class Warfare,” we’re going to acknowledge two things: 1) We didn’t declare it, and 2) We’re getting slaughtered. The only real question is: Will we stop running from this war while we still have a chance to fight, or after we’ve lost?
This latest report from Oxfam should be shocking — but somehow it isn’t. Like all updates on an ongoing war, it seems no degree of loss or atrocity is enough to truly surprise anyone. Still, let’s try this one: “The richest 85 people alive now have more money than HALF THE POPULATION OF THE WORLD.”
And that gap is only getting wider. Thanks to the “trickle-down” policies of worldwide Reaganomics, and the similar Bush-era policies that followed, the last few years have seen an absolute explosion in the number of billionaires worldwide; but the number of millionaires has barely kept up, while the five-and-six-figure crowd has gotten smaller.
Since the 2009 recession — the last 5 years alone — the number of billionaires in the world has doubled to 1,645 people. The number of millionaires, however, has only gone up about 37 percent, from 10 million to 13.7 million. The middle class, however, is holding steady in a couple of areas, but actually shrinking in most. The world, it seems, is very much on the verge of splitting into two separate classes.
And the amount of money the richest people have is utterly staggering; you have to wonder if even they are able to wrap their minds around numbers as large as their own bank accounts. But here’s one way to do it: How much money would it take the world’s wealthiest people to go broke spending a million dollars a day?
Of course we see such familiar names as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet up there — both of whom have pledged to give away all their money before they die. And they’d better get on it. At a million a day, it would take Bill 218 years to give his money away, and Warren 169 years.
Of course, the two people most of us focus on the most intently here will be the Koch Brothers. As you can see from this chart, the Brothers’ combined wealth makes them the Single Richest Man in the World. Nevermind $500 million every few years in bribing GOP politicians; The Kochs could send out a million dollars a day in bribes for the next 224 years before they ran out of money. And make no mistake, politically and financially speaking, the Kochs are a single entity. It’s only because there are two of them that we’ve yet to crown a single King of the World.
But, all of this is a little academic, isn’t it?
It doesn’t really show how our entire economic structure is about to collapse into a permanent two-class system, does it? Perhaps this little animation will clear things up. This is a graphic demonstration of how water droplets form:
Note how the process starts out with a single streamer reaching down to the ground from a wide base. That extends out to form a kind of pyramidal spire, before forming a heavy “head” at the end. When enough fluid from the lower middle section flows downward, the center thins out, and the “head” becomes a droplet that separates from the main body. Afterward, all of the water that is not part of that droplet collapses back down to the base.
And that’s how you create a two-class society.
A heavy “droplet” of billionaires completely separate from the now-collapsed peasant base…with no middle class connecting the two.
The Oxfam report shows us just how close we’re getting to that break, and the inevitable base collapse that follows. And if you’re not part of the Billionaire Club when that happens…oh well. You collapse with everyone else. The people with the big money took off to Galt’s Gulch without you.
So…is it OK for us to return fire, yet?
Or are we just going to wait to lose the class war others declared on us before we acknowledge it existed?