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Capitalism is the actual source of inequality

In signs of rising income inequality, India's richest 1% now hold a huge 58% of the country's total wealth -- higher than the global figure of about 50%, a new study showed on Monday.

 The study, released by rights group Oxfam ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos attended by rich and powerful from across the world, showed that just 57 billionaires in India now have same wealth ($216 billion) as that of the bottom 70% population of the country. Globally, just 8 billionaires have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 50% of the world population.

 The study said there are 84 billionaires in India, with a collective wealth of $248 billion, led by Mukesh Ambani ($19.3 billion), Dilip Shanghvi ($16.7 billion) and Azim Premji ($15 billion). The total Indian wealth in the country stood at $3.1 trillion.

 The total global wealth in the year was $255.7 trillion, of which about $6.5 trillion was held by billionaires, led by Bill Gates ($75 bil…

Soup Kitchen Scotland

The number of people using food banks in Scotland has risen by two-thirds. A total of 117, 689 people - including more than 36,000 children - received a three-day supply of emergency food from the organisation last year. That was a 65% increase on the figures for the previous year.
In 2011, there was one food bank in Scotland operated in partnership with the Trussell Trust. The charity said that as of April 2015, it had 50 food banks in 27 Scottish local authorities. The main reasons behind people being referred to its food banks were due to a benefit delay, low income or a benefit change.
18,000 people in Glasgow using one of its food banks in the financial year from 2014/2015, In Edinburgh, the figure was about 14,000 people and in Fife more than 10,000 required an emergency food supply.
Low income showed the biggest numerical rise, with 24,609 people referred for this reason in 2014/15 compared with 13,552 the previous year, an increase of more than 80%.
Ewan Gurr, Scotland networ…

Capitalism isn't fit for purpose

In the most deprived communities, men and women can expect to spend 22.7 years and 26.1 years respectively in "not good" health. That compares to just 11.9 years and 12 years for men and women in most affluent parts of Scotland.  Cancer and heart attack rates remain higher among those living in deprived areas. Since 2008 "the admissions rate in the most deprived areas has increased at a faster rate than in the least deprived areas", leading to an increase in both relative and absolute inequality. Dr Brian Keighley, chairman of the BMA in Scotland explained "... "for those people living in the most deprived communities the inequalities in health have never been more apparent. We cannot simply continue to argue that public health policies are working to improve the lives of Scots when the differences between rich and poor are so apparent...whilst doctors can do all they can to treat these illnesses, they will not reduce the drivers of inequality in society.…

Fact of the Day

The survey, which is based on publicly available data, breaks down wealth to an average of $51,600 per adult around the globe, but in reality only a tiny sliver of the world’s population at the wealthiest end owns 86%  of the wealth. Some 3.2 billion individuals—two thirds of the world’s population—have less than $10,000 each, the Swiss bank found. The top of the pyramid,  numbers just 32 million people who have $1  million or more, about 41% of global wealth. Nearly half of them live in the United States.

Divided Scotland

Scotland's wealthiest households are now 273-times better off than the most deprived, according to Oxfam Scotland and the gap is widening.  The number of workers who live in poverty has gone from 255,000 to 280,000 since 2008. The report said that working tax credits were "effectively subsidies from the public purse to employers paying poverty wages", and that all employers should pay a living wage. Businesses paying less than the living wage cause the State between £5.9bn and £6.3bn each year. The report explains "Experiencing poverty in this rich country is also intensely stressful. Stigmatisation through media and political rhetoric adds to individuals' sense of anguish and isolation. They, not society, nor the economy, are blamed for their poverty. Meanwhile, pressures to consume abound in a culture that elevates status and image above relationships, community contribution or care for the environment." Judith Robertson, head of Oxfam Scotland, said she b…

One Law for the rich, another for the poor

Both the Faculty of Advocates and the Law Society of Scotland have criticised the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill. The Faculty of Advocates warned that the reform will create a system where those who can afford it receive the best legal representation, while those on legal aid will suffer.

People relying on legal aid would automatically be represented by an advocate in the Court of Session, but in the sheriff court that would only happen in “exceptional” cases, it claimed. The faculty said in a statement:
“The effect of these combined measures will, in the view of the faculty, fundamentally undermine both access to justice and equality of representation...The proposal would in effect deprive individuals on low and moderate incomes and SMEs [small and medium sized businesses] with serious cases, of the right and ability to instruct an advocate. This aspect of the proposal would favour wealthy and corporate litigants, who can afford to instruct counsel, over ordinary people and would cr…

We need a need-based health service

The NHS is failing to provide needs-based care in areas of blanket deprivation, GPs working in Scotland's poorest areas will tell MSPs. The GPs from The Deep End group, which represents 100 practices in the poorest parts of the country are expected to warn that the health service's approach is a "recipe for widening health inequality" when they appear before the Public Audit Committee.

The report warned that the distribution of GPs in Scotland does not reflect the higher levels of poor health and greater need in poorer areas and that "deep-seated inequalities remain between the least and most deprived communities" despite research showing higher rates of multimorbidity (more than one chronic medical condition) in patients from the most deprived areas.

This, combined with "dysfunctional links between general practice and other parts of the NHS", is "a partial explanation of 20 years of failure in addressing inequalities in health. The GPs calle…

Thought for Today

Human-beings are a community animal. Individuals are biologically unique while also only being psychologically complete when acting as an element of community and integrated into its functioning. Reason, logic and scientific understanding may be used in making arguments, but it is not argument that will ultimately prevail. It is repetition, recognition and acceptance. Humans can change the way in which they live. The whole community is responsible for its total economic product and its distribution. All members of the community must have a just equity share in the community’s economic product.

In the United States one family, the Walton family of Wal-Mart, owns more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of Americans.

Imagine a world where the population reaps the benefits for their work. Imagine a world run as a democracy, from the bottom up, not from the top down.

French poverty

A plea for help by the head of a French charity, struggling to cope with an “explosion” in demand, has highlighted the increase in poverty in France.

Olivier Berthe, president of Restos du Cœur (Restaurants with Heart), which hands out food parcels and hot dinners to those most in need, reported a 12 percent rise in the number of people coming through its doors, which, according to Berthe, represents an extra 100,000 compared to this time last year.  “We know that the situation we are in is going to deteriorate and we will have to take measures to manage it. If our donors do not react then we will not be able to cope,” Berthe said.

In the winter of 2011/2012 the charity distributed 115 million meals compared to just 8.5 million in 1985,

Education - a fail mark

Boroughmuir High School in Edinburgh came joint first in Scotland, (along with Glasgow’s Jordanhill School), after figures released showed 69 per cent of S5 pupils obtained three Highers or more. A few miles away not one student left either Wester Hailes Education Centre or Castlebrae Community High with a Higher, let alone the qualifications needed for a university place.

In Glasgow, just 5 per cent of students at Govan High School obtained three or more Highers, while schools in deprived areas of Aberdeen and Dundee also performed poorly.

Meanwhile Scotland's university for the elite, St Andrews, where Prince William and Kate Middleton studied, is accused of failing to enrol students from the poorest backgrounds - only 13 students from the most deprived backgrounds of the country in 2010/11 – 2.7% of the student intake.

Fact of the Day

Just five percent of the population own 80 percent of the farmland in Guatemala.

Fifty-four percent of the population lives in poverty and 13 percent in extreme poverty, according to the 2011 National Survey of Living Conditions, while half of the children under five suffer chronic malnutrition, according to UNICEF

Scottish health apartheid

New figures revealed men in the wealthiest areas live 11 years longer than those in the most deprived parts of the country. For women, the gap is 7.5 years between the poorest areas and the most affluent. Deprived area residents have higher rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and drug and alcohol abuse as well as poorer mental health.

The Poor Rich

Europe's richest families are suffering, the poor wee souls. Having had returns on investments of 8 percent in 2011 and nearly 12 percent in 2010 the annual return dropped to 3.6 percent. They could have performed better if they hadn't held so much low-performing cash, or real estate, because some stock markets and asset classes such as government bonds moved ahead strongly. Rather than speculate in shares, the rich have hoarded in the safety of bank deposits and land.

Screwing the workers

Just four years after the worst shock to the economy since the Great Recession, U.S. corporate profits are stronger than ever. In the third quarter, corporate earnings were $1.75 trillion, up 18.6% from a year ago, according to last week'si gross domestic product report. That took after-tax profits to their greatest percentage of GDP in history.  How is that possible? It’s simple: profits have surged because wages and other labor benefits are down.

Today’s economy is a market. The 1% populariSe the view that today’s economy is a fair and argue, as Margaret Thatcher put it, There Is No Alternative (TINA). The market's real invisible hands are at work insider dealing and anti-union maneuvering plus outright looting and fraud. What they all seek is power is hire strike-breakers, lobby for special favors and backing politicians pledged to act on behalf of the 1%. Firms use political leverage to make sure that anti-labour laws determine employment and working conditions. Capital-int…

Fact of the Day

Nearly half the French people consider themselves poor or fear they soon will be, said a survey.

Salaried employees, manual labourers and independent workers felt the most exposed to poverty, while executives and professionals felt the least exposed.

 Unemployment numbers stand 10%—the worst since 1999. Youth unemployment hit 24.9%, the highest since the data series began in 1996.

Increasing misery

Jérôme Sainte-Marie, director of the political opinion department at the market research firm CSA, which had conducted the survey, was worried that France has “entered a new era.” This was now no longer a question of “lowered status but of pauperization.” Many French people not only had the impression of being “worse off than their parents or worse off than hoped,” but they worried “that they could be thrown into misery, if they aren’t already in it.”

Facts of the Day

The world's 1,226 billionaires have more combined wealth than 3.5 billion people - half the entire planet's population. The richest 10 per cent of the world's population takes 90 per cent of the world's income.
$21 trillion is estimated to have been transferred in the tax havens - 10 per cent of all the world's privately held wealth. This is also more than 10 times the total value of development aid given to the world's poorer nations in the past 20 years.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/11/20121126134721926547.html

Facts of the Day

How many people know that out of 150 countries, the United States have the fourth-highest wealth disparity? Only Zimbabwe, Namibia and Switzerland are worse. 93% of financial wealth is owned by the richest 20% of Americans.

The richest 1% have doubled their share of America's income in 30 years. From 1980 to 2006, the richest 1% actually tripled their share of after-tax income.

Only 4% of those raised in the bottom fifth make it to the top fifth as adults. Only about 20 percent even make it to the top half. 80% of black children who started in or near the top half of U.S. income levels experienced downward mobility later in life.

According to UNICEF, among industrialized countries only Romania has a higher child poverty rate than the United States. Just in the last 10 years the number of impoverished American children increased by 30%. While 12 percent of white children live in poverty, 35% of Hispanic children and 39% of black children start their lives below the poverty line.

 F…

Fact of the Day

In 2012, the World Economic Forum calculated that 1 per cent of the world's population - just 70 million people - own half of the world's wealth.

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/as-long-as-the-rich-can-speculate-on-food-the-worlds-poor-go-hungry-20120630-219ja.html