March 22, 2011

Wealth Concentration in America

A recent Mother Jones article and research performed by Forbes and others points to a disturbing fact about wealth distribution in America. 

Michael Moore, whose contribution to the issue was substantiated by, claims that the top 400 wealthiest Americans have more combined wealth than the bottom half of all Americans (about 155 million people).  I've been aware of the information for some time and it's actually something that worries me a lot, especially because it will have impact on my children. As someone who once ran a hedge fund and probably could be a billionaire today except that I couldn't look at myself in a mirror anymore, I do not believe the disparity between the rich and poor in this country to be sustainable. The idea that a rising tide floats all boats is unadulterated BS, but that's only a small part of what I find disconcerting. The fact is no society has ever survived the kind of income disparity that exists in this country. Violent revolution is invariably the end result.

Looking at this issue through the lens of what recently happened in Wisconsin is also startling.  While a governor there did much in his power to dismantle average Americans from exercising their abilities to bargain collectively, it was demonstrated that an extraordinarily wealthy family who had contributed to the governor's campaign (the Koch family) had unusual access to the policymaker. 

And who is supporting this socio-political construct in which the poor get poorer and the rich get richer?  It's conservatives, who derive much of their sustaining influence from fundamental Christian Tea Party loyalists.  They do this by demanding reductions in taxes without corresponding reductions in military spending.  I find this another example of how Christian Fundamentalism completely misses the mark of what Jesus had intended for His followers.  Subsequent to Christ's crucifixion, many of the early members of His church lived communally with their wealth held in common.  They were the few who wouldn't abadon cities when plagues struck.  They took in abandoned children and shared what they had with the indigent.  This was common practice, based upon Christ's earthly directives to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, until a kind of power-hungry orthodoxy took over and redefined the gospel. 

I'm sure Jesus would be ashamed if He saw what is being advocated in His name today. 


James Redford said...

Unfortunately, the inversion of that organization popularly calling itself the Christian church occured with the pagan Roman government's takeover of said group under Constantine I, himself a lifelong pagan, bloodthirsty tyrant, and unrepentant murderer of his eldest son Crispus and his wife Fausta, to say nothing of all the plebeians he murdered. Since that time, the organizations commonly calling themselves "Christian" have often acted in the role of intellectual bodyguards of the state, and hence have been hostilely opposed to actually applying Jesus Christ's teachings, since said teachings are incompatible with government and its frequent activities, e.g., taxes, war, the inversion of genuine moral understanding, the sowing of needless discord and strife among the populace (i.e., divide et impera), etc.

For much more on the above, see the below article and the article by me that follows it:

"A Military Chaplain Repents", an interview of Rev. George B. Zabelka, the Catholic chaplain who blessed the pilots who dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, conducted circa 1984, published on the LewRockwell website on April 13, 2007.

My below article demonstrates the logically unavoidable anarchism of Jesus Christ's teachings as recorded in the New Testament (in addition to analyzing their context in relation to his actions, to the Old Testament, and to his apostles). It is logically complete on this subject, in the sense of its apodixis.

James Redford, "Jesus Is an Anarchist", Social Science Research Network (SSRN), revised and expanded edition, October 17, 2009 (originally published at on December 19, 2001).

Below is the abstract to my above article:

ABSTRACT: The teachings and actions of Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha'Mashiach) and the apostles recorded in the New Testament are analyzed in regard to their ethical and political philosophy, with analysis of context vis-à-vis the Old Testament (Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible) being given. From this analysis, it is shown that Jesus is a libertarian anarchist, i.e., a consistent voluntaryist. The implications this has for the world are profound, and the ramifications of Jesus's anarchism to Christians' attitudes toward government (the state) and its actions are explicated.

Anonymous said...

A rising tide lifts all boats is BS? Can you substantiate this?
I'm afraid you can't, because it's practically a truism. Your economics background should confirm this.