Archive for the tag “inequality”

Towards Energy Democracy: A Vision Statement

Unlimited growth and consumerist culture is incompatible with a finite world. We call for an urgent paradigm shift, from the currently dominant model of consumption-led development, to creating frameworks of human and ecological well being. This transition should be defined by the principles of sustainability, equity, and justice. (Adopted at the Bijli Vikalp Sangam, Bodh Gaya)

Vikalp Sangam
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Why technology cannot adequately address climate change

The developed worlds average per capita emissions are now a little more than twice the corresponding level in developing countries. But the emissions gap between rich and poor individuals, regardless of nation, has increased. And rich countries and individuals, as always, can rely on their wealth to protect them from many effects of global warming.

Toward sustainable, equitable societies

Credit Suisse: Richest 1% own 53% of India’s wealth

According to Credit Suisse, India’s wealth increased by $2.284 trillion between 2000 and 2015. Of this rise, the richest 1% has hogged 61%

Manas Chakravarty, Live Mint Graphic by Prajakta Patil/Mint

The richest 1% of Indians own 53% of the country’s wealth, according to the latest data on global wealth from Credit Suisse. The richest 5% own 68.6% of the country’s wealth, while the top 10% have 76.3%. At the other end of the pyramid, the poorer half of our countrymen jostles for 4.1% of the nation’s wealth. As Deng Xiaoping put it so pithily, “It is glorious to be rich.”

What’s more, things are getting more and more glorious for the rich. Data from Credit Suisse show that India’s richest 1% owned just 36.8% of the country’s wealth in 2000, while the share of the top 10% was 65.9%. Since then the richest have managed to steadily increase their share of the pie, as the chart shows. This happened during the years of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government from 2000-04, during the first United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government backed by the Left, during the second UPA tenure and now in the first year of the Modi government; the share of the top 1% has now crossed 50%. The colour of the government has been no impediment to the steady rise in the riches of the wealthy.

The chart shows that the difference between the share of the top 1% and that of the top 10% was 29.1 percentage points in 2000, but is down to 23.3 percentage points in 2015. In other words, the top 1% is eating into the share of the next 9%. The richest are growing at the expense of the relatively well-off. Between 2010 and 2015, the share of the poorer half of the population shrank from 5.3% to 4.1%.

According to Credit Suisse, India’s wealth increased by $2.284 trillion between 2000 and 2015. Of this rise, the richest 1% has hogged 61%, while the top 10% bagged 81%. The other 90% got the leftovers.

The share of India’s richest 1% is far ahead than that of top 1% of the US, who own a mere 37.3% of the total US wealth. But India’s finest still have a long way to go before they match Russia, where the top 1% own a stupendous 70.3% of the country’s wealth.

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Download Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2015 

Growth and Inequality in a Carbon-Constrained World

Incrementum ad Absurdum:
Growth and Inequality in a Carbon-Constrained World

David Woodward

The paper seeks to assess the timeframe for eradication of poverty, defined by poverty lines of $1.25 and $5 per person per day at 2005 purchasing power parity, if pre-crisis (1993-2008) patterns of income growth were maintained indefinitely, taking account of the differential performance of China. On the basis of optimistic assumptions, and implicitly assuming an indefinite continuation of potentially important pro-poor shifts in development policies during the baseline period, it finds that eradication will take at least 100 years at $1.25-a-day, and 200 years at $5-a-day. While this could in principle be brought forward by accelerating global growth, global carbon constraints raise serious doubts about the viability of this course, particularly as global GDP would need to exceed $100,000 per capita at $1.25-a-day, and $1m per capita at $5-a-day. The clear implication is that poverty eradication, even at $1.25-a-day, and especially at a poverty line which better reflects the satisfaction of basic needs, can be reconciled with global carbon constraints only by a major increase in the share of the poorest in global economic growth, far beyond what can realistically be achieved by existing instruments of development policy – that is, by effective measures to reduce global inequality.

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Oxfam Report on Extreme Inequality

From Oxfamindia.org

*In 2014 the richest 85 people on the planet owned as much as the poorest half of humanity.
*The net worth of India’s billionaires is enough to eliminate absolute poverty in the country twice over.
*A few Indians have enough money for several lifetimes while millions struggle for 1 sq meal/day

Even It Up: Its Time To End Extreme Inequality
Click here to download the report

Today, global outrage against this has become raucous—the Occupy movements, Arab Spring, street protests by millions of Brazilians demanding increased spending on basic entitlements reflect the anger. This narrative of obscene inequality based on injustice and denial of basic rights calls for urgent action if we want to live socially-just, inclusive and equal world.

Since the global financial crisis the number of billionaires has doubled. A tax, of just 1.5 percent, on their wealth in that period could have raised enough money to save 23 million lives in the poorest countries.

Oxfam’s latest research has found that if India stopped inequality from rising, they could lift 90 million more people out of extreme poverty by 2019.

Inequality is not inevitable; it is the result of deliberate political and economic choices. Market fundamentalism and the capture of power by elites are two powerful drivers of inequality that go a long way to explaining the extremes we see today.

Recent mass demonstrations from Chile and Brazil to Iceland and Hungary have shown that people around the world are unwilling to stand for unfair tax systems and a lack of quality services. People are concerned that their governments are acting not in their interests, but on behalf of national and international elites. Governments must be forced to listen to the people not the plutocrats. This is why Oxfam is joining a growing movement campaigning for an end to extreme inequality, and asking decision-makers everywhere what they will do to make this a reality.

Unequal numbers

  • The top 1% globally controls 46% of the world’s wealth.

  • Seven out of 10 people live in countries where the gap between rich and poor is greater than it was 30 years ago.

  • The richest 85 people on the planet own as much as the poorest half of humanity.

  • These 85 people grew $688m richer each day in 2013-14.

Did you know?

  • In India, billionaires increased from two in the 1990s to 65 in 2014.

  • Net worth of India’s billionaires is enough to eliminate absolute poverty in the country, twice over.

  • More than half of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India is channelled through tax havens.

  • The Indian government spends almost twice as much on its military as on health.

  • Money that can be invested to tackle inequality is diverted by tax breaks & public-private partnerships.

  • If India stops inequality from rising, it can end extreme poverty for 90 million people in just five years.

The India solution

  • If India stops its rising inequality, we can rescue 90 million people from extreme poverty by 2019.

  • Reducing inequality by 36 percent reduction can eliminate extreme poverty and save another 83 million people.

What our government can do

  • Prioritise policies that redistribute money and power.

  • Reject market fundamentalism and oppose the special interests of powerful elite.

  • Provide living wages and decent working conditions.

  • Protect the rights of workers and give them a say in decision-making.

  • Ensure fair taxation, so those most able to pay contribute more.

  • Provide free public services such as health and education to help tackle inequality.

  • Universal child benefits, old-age pensions, unemployment protection etc have an equalising effect.

  • Economic policies must tackle economic and gender inequality together.

    To read more and to download the report, click here.

News update

Why the Fracking Phenomenon Will Leave Us High and Dry
Asher Miller, Post Carbon Institute
A new, landmark report shows that hopes of a long-term golden era in American oil & gas production are unfounded.

Eight Pieces of Our Oil Price Predicament
Gail Tverberg
A person might think that oil prices would be fairly stable. Prices would set themselves at a level that would be high enough for the majority of producers, so that in total producers would provide enough–but not too much–oil for the world economy. The prices would be fairly affordable for consumers. And economies around the world would grow robustly with these oil supplies, plus other energy supplies. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work that way recently.

Is there really an oil glut?
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
Yes, the price drop has only just occurred, and, of course, we cant expect that it will have an immediate affect on consumption. But, increased consumption would likely take the oil markets back above $100 per barrel since small changes in supply and demand tend to move the oil price sharply. At the $100 level no one would be calling the situation a glut.

How can oil as dirty and destructive as the tar sands be profitable? Massive subsidies.
Priceofoil.org
A new report by Oil Change International, Cashing in on All of the Above: U.S. Fossil Fuel Production Subsidies under Obama, demonstrates the huge and growing amount of subsidies going to the fossil fuel industry in the U.S. every year. In 2013, the U.S. federal and state governments gave away $21.6 billion in subsidies for oil, gas, and coal exploration and production.

IPCC Report Says Climate Change Is ‘Severe, Widespread and Irreversible’
Bill McKibben, Ecowatch
Breaking the power of the fossil fuel industry won’t be easy, especially since it has to happen fast. It has to happen, in fact, before the carbon we’ve unleashed into the atmosphere breaks the planet. I’m not certain we’ll win this fight—but, thanks to the IPCC, no one will ever be able to say they weren’t warned.

Why We Can’t Ditch the 2 C Warming Goal
Jonathan Coomey, EcoWatch
The warming limit approach is the most powerful analytical way of thinking about the climate problem that the climate science and policy community has yet devised. So the answer is not to “ditch the 2 C limit,” but to use it to show (in Victor and Kennel’s words) that “politicians … pretend that they are organizing for action when, in fact, most have done little.

Hydropower May Be Huge Source of Methane Emissions
Bobby Magill, Climate Central
Reservoirs and hydropower are often thought of as climate friendly because they don’t burn fossil fuels to produce electricity. But what if reservoirs that store water and produce electricity were among some of the world’s largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions?

Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world
New Scientist
As protests against financial power sweep the world, science may have confirmed the protesters worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.

Terrifying US cluelessness on interest rates suggests politics is powerless
Andrew Critchlow, The Telegraph UK
Clues to the current market turmoil can be found in the Scottish referendum, the Ebola outbreak, and a set of seventeen dots. The last of these are the “dots diagrams” that the US Federal Reserve uses to illustrate where its officials think interest rates will be in the future. They provide a glimpse inside the decision-making process of the main monetary control room in the world. And the picture that emerges is, frankly, terrifying.

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