CBC The Current: Income inequality shows the 1% will soon own 50% of all wealth, says Oxfam


A Jan. 29, 2016 Guardian article is entitled: “Was there ever a time when so few people controlled so much wealth?”

An April 5, 2016 Foreign Policy article is entitled: “Taxpayers of the World, Unite!
The Panama Papers confirm that the world’s elite cheat, lie, and steal. Will the masses finally do something about it?”

A June 19, 2017 Aeon article is entitled: “The bloodstained leveller: Throughout history, plagues and wars have left greater equality in their wake. Can we get there again without violence?”

[End of updates]


A Jan. 21, 2015 CBC The Current podcast is entitled: “Income inequality shows the 1% will soon own 50% of all wealth, says Oxfam.”

This is among the most cogent overviews of income inequality that I have encountered.

I’ve also found it of interest to read a wide range of updates (see below) after I had heard parts of the original CBC broadcast.

Notes from the CBC The Current broadcast

I listened to the broadcast when it first aired.

I made notes, from the part of the broadcast that I heard:

The billionaires who control a growing proportion of the wealth of the world use media resources that are available to them to structure and define the world we live in. They exercise control over how key decisions affecting all of us are made. Clear and practical solutions, to the challenge that non-billionaires face, given this reality, are described in the CBC The Current broadcast.

[End of notes]

Text accompanying the CBC The Current podcast

In a week where the U.S. President has signaled new taxes and fees on the wealthiest American individuals and corporations and where the financially and politically powerful meet in Davos, Oxfam is warning of growing inequality across the globe. Today we look at the implications of counting up the haves and have-nots.

Last night president Barack Obama acknowledged the perils of income inequality in his United States. For the rest of the world, many hope income inequality will find its way onto the agenda of the world’s power brokers gathering today in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum.

And, armed with some eye-popping new statistics, Oxfam timed the release of a wealth-gap report this week to get maximum attention there.

According to the UK-based charity, soon just 80 individuals will have in their hands the same wealth as half-of-the-rest-of-the-world, combined. And the prognosis is for that enormous wealth gap, to just keep on growing.

John Young is the director of outreach for Oxfam Canada.

Not all economists will agree with Oxfam’s reading of the world’s inequality. And some may say that looking at wealth concentration is only looking at one part of a more complicated puzzle.

Ben Southwood is the Head of Research with the Adam Smith Institute in London, England, a libertarian free market public policy think-tank.

We’ve been talking about inequality on a global scale, but recent stats suggest that a similar trend is underway here in Canada, with a growing gap between the few who have a lot, and the many who have much less.

Andrew Jackson is a Senior Policy Advisor at the Broadbent Institute.
This segment was produced by The Current’s Sarah Grant, Naheed Mustafa and Julian Uzielli.

Related Links

[End of text at CBC website for Jan. 21, 2015 CBC The Current podcast]

Quotation within the text


“Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?”


President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address 2015



The CBC podcast provides opportunities for a wide range of views – including a libertarian perspective – concerning the topic at hand. Additional articles addressing the topics include:

A Jan. 9, 2015 New York Times article is entitled: “Growing up on Easy Street has its own dangers.”

A Jan. 23, 2015 Globe and Mail article, from the Associated Press, is entitled: “Diplomat was outspoken critic of U.S. policies.”

A Jan. 24, 2015 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “The rich do get richer. Why can’t the poor also get richer?”

A Feb. 1, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “Canada’s richest 1% aren’t the only ones prospering: Many people in middle brackets enjoy ‘remarkable income mobility'”.

A Jan. 25, 2015 Guardian article is entitled: “Majority of UK’s most influential had independent school education – survey.”

The latter article brings to mind a previous post:

Producers are energetic people who are really good at getting people to say yes, Sherry B. Ortner notes

A Feb. 6, 2015 Brookings Institution article is entitled: “Three Reasons College Matters for Social Mobility.” The Twitter message, that I came across, that highlighted the article, noted: “Why college access matters – it transforms the life chances of bottom quintile kids.”

Two Feb. 11, 2015 Brookings Institution articles address gentrification:

The Anti-Poverty Case for “Smart” Gentrification, Part 1

The Anti-Poverty Case for “Smart” Gentrification, Part 2

The following post adds background to the discussion:

Voter anger explained – in one chart – March 15, 2016 Brookings Institution article

The net’s costs

A Jan. 17, 2015 Economist article is entitled: “Net costs: The internet causes inequality, selfishness and narcissism, according to a new book.”

In its review of The Internet is Not the Answer (2015) by Andrew Keen, the article concludes:

“The internet has certainly contributed to a gross increase in inequality in some areas of society. Yet the world is still in the middle of a technological revolution, and it is hard to see the picture when you are inside the frame. Unbridled techno-Utopianism shows only the revolution’s benefits, and is dangerously incomplete. It is handy, therefore, to have sceptics like Mr Keen around. But the depth of his distaste for it all risks missing the point by exaggerating the net’s many costs.”

Status Update (2013)

Previous posts have highlighted other research about the net’s costs and effects:

Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age (Alice E. Marwick, 2013)

Status Update (2013) focuses on the integration of market logics into social media


4 replies
  1. Graeme Decarie
    Graeme Decarie says:

    I’ve been writing about this in my blog now for some years. It really goes back to Ronald Reagan – who made a life of being a toady to big business. There’s quite a story just in that. He opened the way to an economic system that is inherently based on pure greed, and has no moral code whatever. We went through the same process in the great depression. In those days, most of us good much, much poorer but, despite rumours of stockbrokers jumping out of windows, the rich actually got richer right through the depression. And, yes, there are some very big consequences coming down the track.

    1. If the rich get much more of the money, what will happen to their markets? The poor can’t buy much.

    2. Despite the stories, the rich do not reinvest their wealth, and thereby create prosperity. The rich are in business to make money, not to give it away. Check any place which in dominated by the super rich – Central America, Congo – and there you will find unspeakable poverty and brutality. And our news media don’t report it. (How know that in the 1970s, the US led the Guatemalan army in the slaughter of three quarters of a million helpless Guatemala civilians of all ages? NFB has a documentary about it. But the slaughter never made the news – except for just one day in 1999 in the NYT. It didn’t even make New Brunswick news, though one of the victims was a New Brunswick lay missionary (they killed lots and lots of clergy) – and the lay missionary lies in a grave just fifteen minutes from where I am sitting. The head of the CIA who ran this was George Bush Sr.

    3. Free trade has made it worse by allowing big business to escape any controls or taxes it wishes to. Thank you, Brian Mulroney, you thieving bastard – and your dipstick wife. the latest free trade deals are even worse since they let business pollute and do whatever it wants.

    4. It has created massive poverty, even in the US. ( Pay no attention to official figures. They mean nothing.) The reality is that almost a quarter of all American schoolchildren live below the poverty line. The suffering is closely related to race. That’s why we’re watching the American social structure break down. That’s why fewer than half of American vote. That’s why US police are being retrained and re-equipped along miliitary lines – even with tanks and heavy machine guns. They are being prepared to fight – not crime – to fight the American people. And it’s close.

    5, This capitalism (which actually isn’t capitalism at all) has destabillized the whole world, and we are now very close to nuclear war.

    Remember “Where have all the flowers gone?” I can remember the girls at dances singing it. That was about Vietnam where nobody knows how many million innocent people were murdered. Ever wonder why? To establish democracy? Nope. In fact, US leadership helped the Vietnamese generals (on the US side) to murder the elected president, and appoint a series of military dictators. Ditto South Korea, which was a dictatorship when we got there, a dictatorship while we were there, and still a dictatorship for decades after. Ever wonder why our side killed at least a million and a half Iraqis? and still more in Libya and Afghanistan? Ever wonder why Canadians died in Afghanistan?

    “When will they ever learn?” Or, more to the point, when will we ever learn?


  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    That was a great song, Graeme.

    Note to the reader: For people who may not know know, Graeme Decarie taught at Malcolm Campbell High School for three years before leaving to pursue his MA and PhD in History. You can read his MCHS bio here.

    “Where Have all the Flowers Gone” is a song that MCHS Principal Alan Talbot used to like to sing to himself from time to time, as an anecdote by Graeme Decarie at a previous post notes.

    Here’s a previous post about the song Graeme refers to, and the lyrics:

    Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Pete Seeger – Sanga Music Inc – BMI

    Peter, Paul & Mary – Where Have All The Flowers Gone: Lyrics

    The lyrics are from the lyricsfreak.com website.

    Pete Seeger – Sanga Music Inc – BMI

    Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Young girls have picked them everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the young girls gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the young girls gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the young girls gone?
    Gone for husbands everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the husbands gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the husbands gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the husbands gone?
    Gone for soldiers everyone
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the soldiers gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the soldiers gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the soldiers gone?
    Gone to graveyards, everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the graveyards gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the graveyards gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the graveyards gone?
    Gone to flowers, everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Young girls have picked them everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

  3. Graeme Decarie
    Graeme Decarie says:

    All I can remember is hours spent trying to get the dance committee to decorate the gymn in time for a dance. And grinding my teeth when two of them put on “. Where have all the flowers gone”, and danced to it. I could have strangled them. I’m pretty sure they were class of 63. I remember that I knew them both very well, I can still vividly see them dancing., and I have just gone through my yearbook to check their names. But I can’t be sure of them.

    Whoever you are, God will get you.

  4. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Well, we’re looking for some agile dancers for the Jitterbug Contest at the reunion. I can picture in my mind that the two dancers, and their 63 classmates, have been practising diligently in the years that have followed.


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