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Two things that are dangerous

Two dangerous things about the Guardian article circulating today: the one that says 50% of all property is owned by the richest 1% of the world’s population.

The first dangerous thing is, it’s just a press release from Oxfam. I mean, literally, there was no reportage going on here. They basically ran with a shorter and slightly reworded press release, quotes and bullet points and all.

If you think I’m shitting you, here’s the press release. Also note, the chairman of a thing called the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism is a woman named Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild. Say, did you just hear the theme to the X-Files?

It’s shocking how much journalism is that and only that these days. How valuable a service is a press release aggregator, really?

The second thing is, they’re playing with fire. How very fucking easy it is to whip up class envy. Almost no-one on this earth — including some incredibly wealthy bastards — doesn’t look at some other wealthy bastard who has a few kgilliion more and think it’s not fair. The guys in first class you walk past to get to your miserable seat? They’re all thinking to themselves, “public transportation sucks. Why don’t I have a private jet?”

As conservatives, we are naturally disinclined to steal from our neighbor even if we do think he’s got nice stuff and more of it than he deserves. Plus, we know well the inviolable rule of wealth distribution — those that do the distributing get the wealth. And even so, it’s not too hard to get us hating on the rich folks.

But heed this statistic from the article: the world’s poorest 80% own 5.5% of the wealth. You know what that means? If you live in the West and have a basic middle-class existence, you’re almost certainly in that top 20%. And if you think the great sucking black hole of socialism will hit that top 1% and leave you and me — the rich bastards in the following 19% — alone, you haven’t been watching how it works.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 19, 2015, 11:18 pm

The head of Oxfam, incidentally, makes $500K a year. So, definitely in the one percent.

You think those bastards are seriously going to let their own wealth be confiscated? They’re rich. They have options.

Comment from iamfelix
Time: January 19, 2015, 11:33 pm

I was raised by the mother who said, (when her four wretched urchins were howling, “But that’s not faaaiiirrrr,”) “NOTHING is fair”. So, I’ve learned to live with it.


Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: January 20, 2015, 12:11 am

I see that the moral cannibals at Oxfam propose more of the same socialist poison that created the poverty and lack of economic mobility that they allege to be whining about. In fact that will do nothing but perpetuate poverty, and of course that’s the real goal. Wealthy, independent men can’t be ruled, and Oxfam, like the rest of the progressive left, expects to rule. They no more care about the poor than NOW cares about women or Al Sharpton cares about blacks or the rainbow coalition cares about gays. The victims are just a pretext for the accumulation of political power by existential impotents who can’t make their way honestly in the world.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: January 20, 2015, 12:25 am

Media Delenda Est

Comment from Nina
Time: January 20, 2015, 12:27 am

What Paula said. Spot on.

Pingback from Two things that are dangerous | MemePosts
Time: January 20, 2015, 2:30 am

[…] Original: Two things that are dangerous This entry was posted in Mobility and tagged poverty, wealth on January 19, 2015 by […]

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: January 20, 2015, 5:08 am

I spent some time at Fark today watching the discussion of this subject. There is a lot of simple envy and hate out there combined with a very weak grasp of both economics and reality.

I asked these questions:

How would raising taxes on the rich improve your life? Would you receive better wages? Would you get a better job? A better house? Would your taxes be lower, noting that (in the U.S.) the top 1 percent of tax payers already pay more taxes than the bottom 90 percent, and that the government already spends more than it receives in taxes. What would change for the better?

Crickets for answers to these questions but a lot of there are lots and lots of people who believe that having more money than they have is evil somehow.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: January 20, 2015, 5:54 am

Well said, Madame Weasel; iamfelix; Paula, and Some Vegetable.

Comment from dissent555
Time: January 20, 2015, 6:22 am

When I first heard that report this morning, I thought of a couple of things –
– hey, it’s The Guardian,
– I smell journalistic malpractice, and
– What the hell was so remarkable about this. Hasn’t wealth been concentrated throughout history into an elite set of “haves” (e.g. royalty), as opposed to the rest of the “have-nots” (mostly peasants, farmers, etc). What’s remarkable is that any of that wealth has started to trickle down to create any kind of a middle class.

Now there’s something that a journalist could research and write about. If we could ever find one.

Oh, and I guess that was three things.

Comment from Simon S
Time: January 20, 2015, 1:28 pm

Interesting: Guido has a post today about the plummeting public trust in NGOs like Oxfam, at http://order-order.com/2015/01/20/plummeting-public-trust-in-lefty-ngos/

Trust peaked last year at 67% of the public; down to 52% now. Things are looking up!

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 20, 2015, 4:18 pm

Being a bit (heh) anal retentive, and being a LOT suspicious of anything I read, I note:

“50% of all property is owned…” does not explicitly address that land area owned by no one in particular (i.e. government land, public land, wasteland (desert?, swamp?) in a particular country, etc).

What percentage of earths surface is considered “owned” by individuals? And of that land owned by “the public or citizens in general” I wonder if it was it apportioned out to “everyone” in the calculation of this number?

Comment from AltBBrown
Time: January 20, 2015, 5:39 pm

…and Teh Won will be placing his imprimatur on this iniquitous inequity in the strongest terms visible on His teleprompter tonight in the SOTU address.
Thanks to His extensive background in economics, due to His associations with Krugman, Gruber, et al., He will announce an easy fix.

Comment from Fathom
Time: January 20, 2015, 6:44 pm

Well, they keep throwing out this 1% crap, but in a world with 7.1 billion people, that’s 70 million people with “ALL TEH MONIES”

So it’s not like a Country Club’s worth of people here, you know?

Oxass Dickheads…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 20, 2015, 9:03 pm

Seventy million people. That’s more than the whole population of the UK. That’s awesome. They should totally form their own country: Billionarese.

Yeah, I wondered about that, McGoo. They have to be looking at some limited kind of asset that is already being measured, like stock holding, or it’s a wild-ass guess. Or probably both.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: January 21, 2015, 8:16 pm

Hate to break it to you, but if your gross income is more than about £35000 a year or you have £500K in assets (which is the NPV of a mid-level occupational pension + a modest house with the mortgage paid off), you’re in the 1%. The problem is that a very large number have either zero or negative wealth (AKA debts). So the “1% own everything” statistic has to be hedged around with so many caveats as to make it useless. Wealth is a bullshit metric for most people anyway. What is more important is consumption (money sitting in the bank doesn’t buy you cool/tasty/shiny things). And by that standard there has been a massive increase amongst the poorest of the world – unprecedented in human history.

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: January 23, 2015, 8:53 am

One important question. How much of the world’s wealth is not owned by any people?

That is, how much is owned by governments and non-profit entities? (E.g. Harvard University, which has an endowment of $36B.)

Comment from Escuela
Time: December 26, 2015, 1:33 am

It’s wofrdenul to have you on our side, haha!

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