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The impoverishment of Western countries is no longer possible to conceal

The impoverishment of Western countries is no longer possible to conceal

18.12.2017
Tags: West, USA, Economy, Europe

The "golden billion" is rapidly shrinking, the gap between the poor and the rich is increasing, and the United States and Britain are turning from a "window of humanity" into a hotbed of poverty. This is strongly reminiscent of the propaganda of Soviet times, but, alas, the question in this case is about the conclusions of the UN and the leading economists of the planet.

Last week, the report "On Inequality in the World" was published, which was compiled by over 100 economists from different countries. This team was headed by the Frenchman - the author of the best-selling book "Capital in the 21st Century" by Tom Picetti. The statistics collected by him and his colleagues convincingly prove that the capitalism, which the citizens of the former USSR prayed for thirty years ago, no longer exists in nature.

Today's capitalism resembles, more likely, the novels of Dickens: the rich are getting richer, the poor are poorer. Both are ghettoised - but someone in protected villages, and some in slums. Social elevators, if they work, are only brought down.

The authors of the study analyzed the growth rate of incomes in different strata of the population over the last 36 years. It turned out that since 1980 year 27% of the total increase in world wealth went to 1% of humanity, and 4% accounted for 0,001% - this is about 76 thousand of the richest people in the world.

At the same time, the rate of growth in the incomes of the notorious "middle class" (that is, those who are between 50% of the most needy and 1% of super-rich) has slowed down and to the present day has practically stopped. If the current trend for the impoverishment of the masses and the enrichment of millionaires continue, in 2050, 0,1% of the world's population will own the same wealth as the entire world middle class. In fact, this means that by the year 2050 no middle class will remain in sight - it will seamlessly join the global poor.

The report of Picketti reveals an interesting regularity. Economic inequality is growing fastest in the world's leading economies. For the successes of the golden billion, the impoverished population of developed countries is paying off.

In 1980, 1% of US citizens owned 22% of the country's national wealth. Today they already own 39%. Amazon owner Jeff Bezos in the last year added to his fortune 33 billion dollars and in November was proclaimed the richest man in the world with a total fortune of 100,3 billion dollars.

Approximately the same picture is emerging in Britain. In 1984, 1% of the super-rich owned 15% of national wealth, now - 22%. For the past thirty years, proves Picetti, the countries of the golden billion have reached the same level of economic inequality as the countries of Africa and the Middle East that are traditionally disadvantaged in this regard.

For a record growth in the incomes of one percent of the population, the working majority pays off: the country of the golden billion has been hit by the poverty epidemic. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a charity that has struggled with poverty in the United Kingdom for over a hundred years, treats the poor as fourteen million Britons. This is about one-fifth of the total population of the country. In "cramped conditions," according to the fund, four million children and nearly two million old people live.

The situation can not break even the record low for England unemployment. An increasingly large part of the salary goes to a rapidly rising rent and a communal apartment, and any accumulation is eaten up by inflation. This does not allow citizens to save up for a decent pension. Buying your own home is also becoming inaccessible to them - property prices have made home ownership a real luxury.

The US Census Bureau refers to the poor 41 million Americans (12,7% of the population), but many experts and NGOs consider this figure to be too low. At the same time, 32,6% of the total number of poor people are children, and among the homeless, the share of children is 21%.

The situation with the impoverishment of the population in America has become so acute that in December its monitoring was launched by the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston. Alston promised to investigate how poverty affects the observance of Americans' rights, "given the importance that the US government attaches to the human rights issue in its foreign policy." His route included California with its homeless, West Virginia with the unemployed miners, Alabama with a hereditary poverty of the color population and Washington, where the working class is rapidly becoming poorer.

As a result of his voyage, Alston issued a report, excerpts from which recall the darkest times of the "Great Depression" and "wild capitalism": "

"I saw a lot of things on this trip ... I saw the odd places in the yards where the state government does not provide sanitation ... I saw people who lost all their teeth, because the health insurance for the poorest does not provide for the payment of a dentist ... I I saw families crying for their loved ones who died from an overdose of opioid painkillers. "

Alston compared the United States with other developed countries. It turned out that the gap between the poor and the rich in America is the largest in the world. The country also leads in terms of the impoverishment of youth - in need are 25% of young Americans and only 13% of their peers from other developed countries. Worse, Americans now live less, are more often ill - and this trend is only getting worse.

At the same time they were debunked by many myths about poor Americans. For example, the one according to which the poor are entirely "colored" lazy people, sitting on grants. In fact, white beggars are eight million more than "color ones". Most of them search for jobs for years, but the rapidly automated production simply does not leave vacancies for them. But even for those who do have work, they no longer guarantee a normal existence.

Walmart employees told Alston that in the supermarkets of this largest network in the world they are paid so small a salary that they survive only thanks to coupons for free products.

Many of these myths are popular in Russia. It seems to people that the standard of living in the West is so high that complaints about poverty are a whim of "zazhravshihsya" consumers. Moreover, poverty in the countries of the golden billion is not so shocking as it is in Africa or India, and tourists are not striking. But there is a nuance.

Passers-by on the streets are cleanly dressed, because clothes on sales are almost nothing. Pensioners can afford a cup of cappuccino in a cafe, but their homes for months stand without heating - it's too expensive.

The hidden nature of this poverty does not make it less painful. In the most advanced countries of the world, millions of people regularly suffer from hunger and cold. From their menu, meat disappears - there is not enough money for it. On their credit cards there is a growing debt, which there is not a single chance to pay.

We are used to chuckle at the English, who begin to worry, as soon as snow falls. Because we do not understand that for most families this means huge heating bills. In order to save pensioners do not include it at night, and in the morning they find them frozen. In 2016, forty thousand people died like this. On average over the winter, every seven minutes, one elderly Briton perished from the cold in his own house. There was even a special term "heating poverty", which affects 2,3 million English families and 800 thousand Scottish.

Millions of Englishmen are forced to go for free food packages to food banks. The largest network of these charities is The Trussel Trust. Last year, the Foundation distributed 1,18 million three-day sets of products, of which 446 thousand were received by children. During the first six months of 2017, the number of extraditions increased from 12% to 30% in different regions, and in December the fund was forced to ask for additional help to the donors, warning that it could not cope with the influx of people trying to get free food for Christmas .

Including, therefore, the Independent newspaper on the eve of Christmas launched the project "Help the starving child." These are not African kids at all, but ordinary English children. Often all the food that they get for the day is free meals in schools and all the same charitable food packages. The journalist of the publication, who visited one of the food banks, bitterly remembered Dickens:

"Unlike Oliver Twist, the children we met at the food bank did not ask for" more! ". They seemed happy if they were given at least something. "

Victoria Nikiforov
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