Inequality in the United States is a pretty divisive and tricky topic to maneuver within a country that class politics has mainly been absent in. However, with what appears to be more mainstream coverage of U.S. inequality, as well as global inequality in general, it appears that the taboo is beginning to break as we enter into near Victorian levels of wealth dispersal. In the U.S. it is common to enter conversations where people replicate many myths of the mythology of easy class mobility and opportunity, it is usually helpful to have hard facts on hand. With approaching these topics of class inequality and structural poverty it helps to get this information out in the debate to be able to string together emancipatory claims in the real and material world with grounded revolutionary theory. Basics:
- It was known that 85 individuals owned 50% (or most) of the world’s wealth, but this has known changed to 67 individuals own more than the bottom 3.5 billion people due to the competitive nature of the market and the shared inheritance these vast empires of wealth are dispersed thought inter-familially.
- United States 1% and top quintile:
- The top 1% of the U.S. owns 35% of it’s wealth and without household wealth owns 42%
- The top 5% of the U.S. owns 63% of it’s wealth and without household wealth owns 72%
- The top 20% of the U.S. owns 89% of it’s wealth and without household wealth owns 95% of the U.S. total wealth.
- World Wealth Dispersal can be divided up into multiple quintiles
- Comprised of 32 million millionaires and + –>0.7% of the population –>Owns 41% of the world’s wealth
- Comprised of 361 million whom earn around $100,000 –> 7.7% of the population –> Owns 42.3 % of the world’s wealth
- 1 billion $10,000 earners–>22.9% of the population –>Owns 18% of the world’s wealth
- 3.2 Billion — >Less than $10,000 earners –> 68.7% of the population –>Own 3% of world’s wealth
- In the United States split into 5 quintiles, much as Dylan Monohan points out in his recent article on inequality, U.S. is split according to the study in Figure 1.1.
- In the top 20% quintile the ideal dispersal stated by Americans was 32% and compared to the reality the top quintile in the united states comprising mostly of capitalists owns 89% of the wealth.
- The second highest quintile, as well comprising of 20% of the U.S. population, was presented ideally by Americans to own 21% of the wealth yet in actuality only owned 9% of the U.S.’s wealth.
- The third quintile, representing a specific mid section of 20% of the U.S. population, wad ideally set to own 22% of the U.S.’s wealth but in actuality only owned 3% of the U.S.’s wealth.
- The fourth quintile was ideally set to represent the ownership of 14% of the U.S.’s wealth, much like the fifth quintile owning 11% of the U.S.’s wealth, but neither appeared to own any and in actuality both reside in serious debt at below 0% of the U.S.’s wealth.
With statistics like these we can collectively see the absurdities that capitalism functions as a socio-economic system were poverty is structured within it’s compulsions to maximize profit and minimize costs. This becomes quite apparent with societal existential crisis occurring with the revelation that 67 individuals own most of the world’s wealth or that we are presently producing ourselves to the death of civilization. This being said it is important to remember that although these absurdities exist, it makes it even less absurd to begin to aggregate and organize around the majority of societies interests, which is the preservation of human life and liberation from a profit driven society. Liberating ourselves from a system where the numbers are in our favor and it appears that in the heart of global capitalism, the United States only has a composition of capitalists making up only 2% of it’s population, this shows that the numbers are in the majorities favor with overthrowing a socio-economic system that depends on capitalists.