Wealth and solidarity ›World› Granma
Work of Pawel Kuczynski

In the world, billions of families do not have the resources to buy food, which has ceased to have use value and, with capitalism, has become exchange value. Such commodification of the good most essential to our biological survival is a heinous crime. Farmers can no longer bring their products to market and sell them. They have to deliver them to the middleman, who resells them to the system that processes, transports, packs and distributes them to the retail outlets.

Today it is banks, multinationals and pension funds that dominate the food market and promote speculation through commodity derivatives. When there is an interruption in that chain, farmers are forced to burn or bury their products. A crime against humanity practiced in homage to the god Capital.

The pandemic favors the wealthiest. Between 2016 and 2020 the global economy grew by 10.7% and the number of billionaires by 52.2%. According to the Bloomberg index, the wealth of the owners of the 500 largest fortunes on the planet increased by almost two trillion dollars in 2020. The list is led by executives of technology companies and luxury goods.

Economist Michael Roberts claims that a very small number of people (less than 0.1%) own 25% of the world’s wealth. Only 1% of families have 43% of the global wealth, the next 10%, 81%, and as for 50% of the rest, only 1%. The top 1% is made up of 52 million billionaires in liquid wealth (debts deducted). Within that 1% are 175,000 super-rich people, because each one is left with more than $ 50 billion in liquid wealth. At the end of 2019, the European Union and Europe – which has only 17% of the world’s adult population – concentrated 55% of total global wealth.

In the fall in total wealth, the region most affected has been Latin America, where currency devaluations have reinforced the reductions in GDP in dollars, resulting in a loss of 12.8% of total wealth in dollars. The pandemic has also halted the expected growth of the European Union and caused losses in all other regions except China and India. Among the world’s major economies, the UK has suffered the greatest relative erosion of wealth.

In short, billions of people have no monetary wealth at all, and the distribution of global personal wealth reflects a world in which some giants, like Gulliver, look down upon an immense mass of Lilliputians …

According to the economist Thomas Piketty, a world tax of 2% on fortunes above ten million euros would yield ten times more: one trillion euros per year, or 1% of global GDP, which could be distributed to each country in proportion to its population.

An urgent measure would be to introduce universal basic income. If we divide the world GDP (calculated at 84 trillion dollars) between the 7.2 billion human beings, we would arrive at the annual value of 11 667 dollars usa per capita, that is, that each person would have 972.25 dollars uses per month.

The reverse X-ray is the one that shows that humanity would emerge better from this pandemic. When the Titanic began to sink the richest people did not care about their neighbors. They ran to the rescue boats not caring about those who did not have the same privilege. It is, therefore, an urgent challenge to work for the culture of care and solidarity. We urgently need basic achievements such as food, education, health, computer access for all, clean energy and sustainable use of the Earth.

Leave a Reply