One Finite Planet

One Finite Planet

Wealth Inequality: Who wants More Inequality?

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The Wikipedia article on Wealth inequality in the United States describes wealth inequality as a problem almost every would like to see reduced. Yet wealth inequality is increasing, not decreasing. What gives? Is humanity unable to address this problem? Or is will to address the problem not as universal at it might appear? Either consensus for action to decrease wealth inequality in not sufficient to stop the increase, or alternatively, there are forces actively working against this ‘consensus’, which means it is not actually a complete consensus. Are there dissenters working (and succeeding) to increase wealth inequality? This post is looks at the question: Who wants wealth inequality to increase?

  • The consensus
  • A more meaningful consensus?
  • Why the dissent?
  • The power of the dissenters
  • Who wants wealth inequality to increase: the wealthy

The consensus

To quote the previously referenced Wikipedia article:

A 2011 study found that US citizens across the political spectrum dramatically underestimate the current US wealth inequality and would prefer a far more egalitarian distribution of wealth.[15]


The survey records what people say they feel is the ideal distribution of wealth, and this ideal far more egalitarian. This suggests there is consensus of what people believe is ideal, or at least what they say is the ideal.

A More Meaningful Consensus?

However, if you ask a different question, for example, select A) or B)

  • a) I seek to increase my wealth relative to others
  • b) I seek to decrease my wealth relative to others

You may find an overwhelming response of individuals who want to increase their wealth relative to others. This a) response may still hold as the dominant answer for those groups who hold the most wealth, and thus are best placed to increase their own wealth. If this response does hold as I suggest it will, a new consensus becomes “the vast majority of the very wealthy seek to increase their relative wealth, which if they succeed means an increase in wealth inequality.

Why the dissent?

Each individual may wish to increase only their own wealth relative to all others, and be quite satisfied if the overall wealth divide moves towards the ‘ideal’ distribution, but very few philanthropic members of that wealthy group are actually planning to themselves move down in relative wealth.

The gap is between what people believe is ideal for world, and what they personally are prepared to support happening for themselves. Few people in any group would support any policy that means they as an individual become less wealthy relative to others.

If the majority of all people in below average wealth groups wishes to increase their own wealth, then those with below average wealth will support policies to make increase the wealth of the poor (themselves) and are supporting steps to decrease inequality.

Conversely, if the majority of those in above average wealth groups will take active steps to support policies increasing their personal wealth, then these above average wealth people are effectively supporting steps to make the rich (themselves) even richer and and looking to make a personal contribution to increasing inequality.

The Power of the Dissenters.

With wealth comes power. While both rich and poor may be equally motivated to increase their own wealth, it is those who are currently wealthy who have greatest power to see policies implemented that produce the outcomes they personally seek. End result: the wealth divide will continue to increase

Table of Contents


Flawed Australian voice of Indigenous People referendum: The irony of a voice campaign that failed to listen.

A tragic lost opportunity. Why didn’t those proposing the voice make changes to remove ambiguity and eliminated enough of the negative perception to win over enough support instead of simply declaring” “No, if that is how you see it you are either racist or stupid!” Was it just that there was no willingness to listen?

Australians had an opportunity in a constitutional referendum to righteously shout loudly “I am not a racist” by voting for a proposition that, at its core, could be seen as fundamentally flawed, divisive and even potentially racist, in the hope even a risk of moving in the direction of apartheid is still better than nothing.

The referendum resulted in a huge setback for action on indigenous disadvantage and while it did seem unlikely to do anything to unify Australians and offer more than some possible affirmative action, the division resulted with even sometimes “yes” voters being encouraged to also be racist.

This is a deeper look trying to see each side from the perspective of the other, with the reality that both sides had a point, and a vast majority of people do want equality and unity.

Perhaps it little more work could bring things together and offer a fresh enough perspective to move beyond just another well-intentioned patronising racism failure like the stolen generations?

Read More »

Crime: A litmus test for inequality?

Around the world, many countries have both a battle with equality for some racial groups and minorities and also a battle with crime-rates within and by those same groups.

Should we consider crime rates the real sentinels of problems and a solution require focusing on factors behind crime rates? Or is the correct response to rising crime rates or crime rates within specific groups an adoption of being “tough on crime”, thus increasing rates of incarceration and even deaths in custody for oppressed minorities and racial groups?

This is an exploration of not adjusting the level of penalties and instead focusing on the core issues and inequalities behind crime-rates. It is clear that it is “damaged people” in general rather than specific racial groups that correlate with elevated crime rates, so why not use crime rates to identify who is facing inequality?

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Influence: There’s no free lunch and they use your data to make you pay.

It can seem all those tech companies are so dumb giving away services for free.

I recently read another comment containing the “I don’t want Google getting more of my data to sell” and it reminded me of the question, ‘why is your data valuable?’ people too rarely ask. The common myth is that Facebook and Google etc want your data so they can sell it, but even with companies that do sell your data, it still requires someone to turn data into money, and enough money to fund the “free” services of the tech companies and allow them enough spare to make profits beyond anything seen in the world previously. So how does the data turn into so much money?

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Google and Facebook etc make their money from advertising, not from selling data, and unless they use can the data to persuade you to buy products at prices inflated by advertisers paying part of the sale price to Facebook/Google etc, they would lose money.

Your data is used to inflate the cost of living and earn votes for politicians with an agenda that gives them a budget to spend. They (Google/Facebook etc) don’t want to sell your data, but the reality, is more sinister: they use it to have to change your thinking, so more of your money will go to make them richer.

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The Power struggle in Australia.

From “the biggest corruption scandal ever” in Brazil, problems in Venezuela, human rights in Saudi Arabia and Iran, to the problems caused by lobbyists against action on climate change, an abundance of fossil fuels is a source of political power, yet rarely force for good, and Australia, with a wealth of coal and gas, is not spared.

The current crisis in Ukraine not only drives up energy prices globally, but it also creates a dilemma for gas producing nations.

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Fragile Democracy: Was Scott ‘Scomo’ Morrison autocrat of Australia?

Democracy collapses when a leader, who is able to bypass the checks and balances, uses their position to retain power.

Steps by recent leaders Scott Morrison and Australia and Donald Trump in the USA, raise questions as to whether current reliance on conventions and constitutions reliably protects democracy.

China, Russia and even North Korea are all technically democracies, and all proof of how technically being a democracy does not necessarily deliver real democracy.

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