Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Haves and Have-Nots (2)

“We should be afraid”

The world’s top ten corporations have a combined revenue that is greater than the combined income of the 180 “poorest” countries out of the world’s total 195 sovereign states. Walmart, Apple and Shell alone are now richer than Russia, Belgium and Sweden. The value of the top 10 corporations was $2.85tn (£215tn), beating the $2.80tn worth of the bottom 180 countries, which include Ireland, Indonesia, Israel, Colombia, Greece, South Africa, Iraq and Vietnam.

Sixty-nine of the world’s 100 top economic entities are now corporations instead of countries – a rise from last year’s figure of 63. Out of the top 200 entities in the world, 153 were found to be corporations.

Walmart ranks as the 10th largest, followed by China’s electricity monopoly State Grid at number 14, China National Petroleum at 15 and Chinese oil firm Sinopec Group at 16. Apple ranked 26th behind the 18th-placed Royal Dutch Shell, with Exxon Mobil at 21, Volkswagen at 22 and Toyota at 23. Walmart, the biggest corporate entity in the world, is valued at over $482 billion, which makes it wealthier than Spain, Australia, and the Netherlands, individually.

“The vast wealth and power of corporations is at the heart of so many of the world’s problems – like inequality and climate change,” said Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now. “The drive for short-term profits today seems to trump basic human rights for millions of people on the planet. These figures show the problem is getting worse,” he added. “The U.K. government has facilitated this rise in corporate power through tax structures, trade deals, and even aid programs that help big business.” 

"Today, of the 100 wealthiest economic entities in the world, 69 are now corporations and only 31 countries," wrote Global Justice Now campaigns and policy officer Aisha Dodwell. "This is up from 63 to 37 a year ago. At this rate, within a generation we will be living in a world entirely dominated by giant corporations." Dodwell continued: "As multinationals increasingly dominate areas traditionally considered the primary domain of the state, we should be afraid.While they privatize everything from education and health to border controls and prisons, they stash their profits away in secret offshore accounts. And while they have unrivaled access to decision makers they avoid democratic processes by setting up secret courts enabling them to bypass all judicial systems applicable to people. Meanwhile their raison d'etre of perpetual growth in a finite world is causing environmental destruction and driving climate change. From Sports Direct's slave-like working conditions to BP's oil spill devastating people’s homes, stories of corporations violating rights are all too often seen in our daily papers.  Of course, the battle against corporate power has many fronts and the UN treaty is only one part of it," Dodwell observed. "At the same time, we need to continue to develop alternative ways to produce and distribute the goods and services we need. We need to undermine the notion that only massive corporations can make the economy and society 'work.' The alternative is that we continue to rush towards the dystopian vision of unchallenged corporate power," Dodwell wrote. "We cannot allow this to happen. We must fight back."

Fact: There are 540 billionaires in the United States with a combined wealth of $2.4 trillion. The wealthiest 1/10th of one percent hold about $20 trillion or a mind-boggling 22% of total U.S. personal wealth (up from 7% in 1980).....minimum net worth of about $25 million and average net worth of about $125 million. A 2% annual tax on this wealth would raise about $400 billion in year one and, if their wealth continues to grow at 6% compounded annually as it has done since 1980, about $12 trillion over the next 20 years.

Where did all this "wealth" come from? What are the legal and social roots of this "ownership"? Capiltalism seeks to place a monetary value on everything. By recognizing the full range of social, and relational value of our thoughts and actions, not just economic, we realize that wealth has a much broader meaning and we can break away from the mentality of corporate control. Somewhere in the  future workers will work for the necessities ( like shelter, food and security) instead of for wages. From the very onset of capitalism, the elite ruling class (originally the propertied class) have always stolen the profits that were, and continue to be, produced by labor (physical and mental.) Without labor, the factories, supermarkets, financial institutions, telecommunications, transportation, distribution, retail and all other types of profit-producing enterprises come to a halt ... a dead halt! Capital, without labor, produces nothing!  A massive amount of education needs to take place before there will be enough people, commitment and power to overturn capitalism.

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