World wealth has reached a record $263 trillion but is concentrated in fewer hands. The richest 1 percent have accumulated more wealth, and own almost 50 percent of it, which could trigger recession, according to a new report by Credit Suisse.
Richest 1% own 50 percent of world wealth – Credit Suisse report, RT, 14 October 2014
Nine of the top nations on the 2012 Happy Planet Index, undertaken by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) which rates human well being, were countries which had high levels of poverty. Countries such as Bangladesh, Thailand, Mexico, Sri Lanka and Pakistan where poverty is also widespread all finished higher than the United States, Australia and United Kingdom. All three failed to finish in the top forty. […]. Australian author Peter Jensen in his recent book, Lessons in Happiness from the Third World, emphasises that a sense of community, purpose and gratitude are three fundamentals which are common in third world countries yet are constantly overlooked in the western world. He suggests happiness is something that can only be built up from putting your energy and time into it each day.
James Bitmead, Melbourne-based journalist, Why money can’t buy happiness
Across the globe the top 1% have increased their share of wealth and income to the steepest extreme since the Gilded Age of the late 19th and early 20th century. The Federal Reserve’s 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances shows that economic polarization has accelerated since the 2008 crash. The 0.1% of Americans have pulled even further ahead of the rest of the 1%, who in turn have widened their gains over the remainder of the 10%. At the bottom of the pyramid, the poorest 10% have fared even worse than the next lowest. The economy is operating like a centrifuge separating rich from poor…Making money by privatizing public monopolies and cutting services, or simply price gouging to cover higher costs of interest and dividends, management fees, higher executive salaries and stock options is treated as economically productive as building new factories and hiring employees…Most wealth takes the form of what classical economists characterized as unearned income, mainly from the FIRE (finance, insurance and real estate) sector: interest and various forms of economic rent, inherited wealth and “capital” gains, not to speak of tax avoidance, stock options and other favoritism for rentiers.
Michael Hudson, 9 October 2014
Most of us – the non-sociopathic personalities – deserve to live in a society that is more diplomatic, fair, emotionally mature and balanced, humanitarian, tactful, purposeful, cooperative, mutually trusting, creatively and artistically expressive, inventive, capable of overcoming inferiority / superiority complexes, dogmatism, cowardice, lack of self-control, possessiveness, materialism, greed, self-importance, envy, self-righteous victimhood, control issues, sectarianism/tribalism, etc. in order to establish genuine social justice and build a bridge into a new, enterprising future.
We who believe in creativity and in the healing and inspiring role of nature, deserve to live in a less mechanistic, frigid, aseptic, and sterile civilization.
Our present anally retentive way of life and worldview, especially among those who live in North America and North-Western Europe, can no longer be seen as the best hope for the rest of the world. It gives the impression of an ordered society, but that impression is not real.
Consumerism and addictions have become an outlet for repressed emotions, urges and dissent. Populations enjoying a far greater degree of fluidity and spontaneity in their everyday lives (i.e. Africans, Latin Americans), in spite of being poorer, have little or no need for anti-depressants (Antidepressants: global trends, Guardian, 20 November 2013) and binge drinking (World’s heaviest drinking countries revealed, the Independent, 12 May 2014). Moreover, they are generally happier (Citizens of poorest countries are happiest in the world, Pravda, 2 January, 2013).
And yet technocratic utopias, “smart cities”, cyborgs and transhumans are being strenuously promoted by people who appear to be deeply insecure and suffering from fearfulness and health and control anxieties. Order, discipline and the flight from nature, for them, mean the end of suffering and apprehension. They believe that this is a cure that must be enforced upon everyone, for their own good, and do not realize that dehumanizing is the opposite of healing. If you heal people you don’t numb them, you enliven them. You don’t leave them in a state of dependency, but of awareness of their own resourcefulness. You do not segregate them from nature, because that destroys human beings (No More “Nature-Deficit Disorder”, Psychology Today, 28 January 2009).
We are human beings, not androids or viruses (Are Viruses Alive? Scientific American, 8 August 2008). We don’t need even more elaborate systems to thrive in this world, we already have enough technology and prosperity for the entire human population. We no longer need to grow compulsively. It’s time to redistribute what there is, stop poisoning our environment, food and bodies, deprogram ourselves from consumerism, careerism and anally-retentive techno-fetishism, and focus on a different kind of growth, leading to a more mature and fruitful actualization of human potential.
We should follow nature’s example: life is unpredictable, fluid, ever-changing and messy and that results in great beauty. A different human awareness would lead to that, from the old reality paradigm (sociopathic) to a new reality paradigm (socio-therapeutic), a comprehensive revision of the present models of human social and economic interaction towards more organic, self-created, resilient, participatory, self-organized/devolved, adaptive, imaginative, redistributive alternatives, in the service of universal creativity, honouring human dignity and life and alleviating material suffering.
More and more people are losing faith in the existing system. The human Renaissance is still in its early stages but it will pick up momentum and will take place, in defiance of all efforts to combat it, divert it, modify it or control it (We the People 2014, FuturAbles, 5 February 2014).
This is inevitable, because the overwhelming evidence points to the fact that human imagination is unbounded, and this is what makes human beings so special and precious: Their value is not finite because they – their identities – are not exhaustively definable; they are capable of unpredictability and creativity, for good and bad. No single act provides the key to anyone. You cannot say for certain who a person is, much less who he may become. Unlike other species members, each person initiates (more than ecological) change in the world just by living in it and remakes it indefinitely in a tangled web of cause and effect. Each is distinctive to an extent or in a way that a member of some other species is not (George Kateb, Democratic individualism and its critics, “Annual Review of Political Science”, 2003, p. 276).