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  •  Well, there ARE two USAs . . . (7+ / 0-)

    Remember the diaries posted not too long ago about the Norton-Ariely study on wealth inequality? How Americans grossly underestimated how much inequality there is in their own country? There was this chart:

    And a comment in the study itself noted that not only does the top fifth own 84 percent of the nation's wealth, the top 1 percent owns half of it.

    Well, the other morning I started thinking some more about the implications of that, and here's what I realized:

    If 1 percent own half the wealth, then the rest of the top fifth own 34 percent, the second fifth own 11 percent, and so on down the line.

    Now suppose we take the top 1 percent out of the picture entirely. We're left with a distribution in which the top one-fifth owns 68 percent of the remaining wealth (which is half of what we began with), the second fifth owns 22 percent, the third owns 16 percent, and the bottom two fifths own about 2 percent of it.

    What this means is that 99 percent of us live in a country that has only half the purported wealth of the United States, and is still even more unequal than most people think the United States as a whole is. And the other 1 percent of us live in a country that also has half the wealth of the United States, only they own all of it.

    Moreover, just to illustrate the severity of this inequality, imagine a small-to-medium-size business where 100 people work. And imagine that somehow they get $100,000 to divvy up among the staff -- they pooled for a ticket and won the Little Lotto or something.

    Under the American distribution of wealth:

    • The VPs, department heads, and senior sales and marketing people will get about $1,790 each.
    • The middle managers, sales staff and senior technical staff will each get about $550.
    • The techs, accountants and foremen will each get around $200.
    • The office clerks, shop floor workers, custodians, mailroom clerks and customer service reps will see roughly $25 apiece.

    The company president will take home $50,000 all by himself.

    "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

    by Geenius at Wrok on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 05:45:50 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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