Who Should an Economy Serve?

The top one percent own half of all the world's assets. In stark contrast, the bottom fifty percent of the world owns less than one percent. According to the 2014 Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse, global inequality has surged since the 2008 financial collapse. The report explains that while global wealth has more than doubled since the year 2000, the vast majority of overall growth has gone to those who were already wealthy. Emma Seery of Oxfam International explained how serious this inequality has really become. She said, “in poor countries, rising inequality means the difference between children getting the chance to go to school and sick people getting life saving medications.” And, thanks to Thomas Piketty, we know that even in so-called developed nations like ours, inequality can be one of the biggest threats to a functioning democracy. It's time to fight for an economy that works for all the people of the world, and a system that asks those with the most to contribute their fair share.


Gator Girl 8 years 31 weeks ago

The economy should serve ALL people equally - not the 1% at the top.

I cannot believe in this season of voting that more Democrats have not made sure damn sure that they are registered and doubly sure to vote. Yes, I agree that the choices are not the best our country has to offer but those people do not want to run so we have to opt for the person(s) who will best serve our own interests.

I hear many people talking about voting for a real long shot - and that is their right to do - but just remember, those people are not going to win and, no matter what party you are for, you are taking a vote away from your personal choice of the main stream candidates. Unfair? Of course, but that is the system with which we must serve at present.

Come on, people, get off work, out of your Lazy Boy, off the golf course - wherever you are and vote. Early if you have the chance. If not stand in whatever line you have to for how ever long you have to. This is OUR government we are talking about and too many people not voting is how we got into the mess we are in now. I know in Florida I damn sure do not want that fool, Scott, to be re-elected!

Gary Reber's picture
Gary Reber 8 years 31 weeks ago

Thom Hartmann's opening statement holds the solution to economic inequality. What is the solution that should be obvious in his statement: "The top one percent own half of all the world's assets. In stark contrast, the bottom fifty percent of the world owns less than one percent."?

The obvious solution should be to empower the 99 percent, who are capital-less or under-capitalized in terms of wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets, to become capitalist owners. The rich are rich because they OWN. So why not the 99 percent?

But how when the 99 percent or dependent for their survival on a JOB, which for the vast majority translates to a condition of "Just Over Broke," as they barely are ever in a situation where they can actually save to invest.

The the question is how can we expect ordinary people, who are without pre-existing wealth and inheritance and are capital-less or under-capitalized to accumulate enough savings to significantly invest in full-earnings payout stock in corporate America and benefit from dividend earnings and compound interest?

Past savings, wether cash in a local bank or equities which can be pledge as security to secure loans to invest, is not a workable solution. This is especially true because tectonic shifts in the technologies of production will continue to destroy jobs and devalue the worth of labor––which is the ONLY means that ordinary Americans have to earn an income.

What is needed and necessary is a new policy direction specifically aimed at creating new capital owners simultaneously with the growth of the economy. The financial mechanisms used MUST NOT REQUIRE past savings and instead be available as a unique and exclusive opportunity for American citizens to access insured, interest-free capital loans for the specific purpose of acquiring newly issued full-dividend earnings payout stock in corporations growing our economy. In other words, we need to use a credit mechanism by which the loans are paid for with the future earnings generated by the creation of new capital assets, which result in products and services needed and wanted by Americans, which then further propels the economy's growth. Such a policy program is what the Capital Homestead Act would achieve.

The Capital Homestead Act (http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/capital-homestead-act-a-plan-for-getting-ownership-income-and-power-to-every-citizen/ and http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/capital-homestead-act-summary/) would grow the U.S. economy faster in a non-inflationary way, create new private sector jobs, finance new productive capital and provide capital incomes for all Americans from the bottom-up by enabling them to own trillions annually in new capital formation and transfers in current assets . . . without taking private property rights away from billionaires and multi-millionaires over their existing assets.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 31 weeks ago

RE #3 by Gary B -- Why would you want to try something that has never been used, when we have a proven economic system available that works. Just roll back Voodoo economics (AKA reaganomics).

I think to set in action either plan we need to enlist the labor unions. To enlist the labor unions we need to vote Democratic.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 31 weeks ago

Time for a global economic Magna Carta. If we can't limit the insane amount of money the relative few bogart, then we need to limit their power with regulation . My suggestion, regulate out of control Capitalists by imposing a 99% tax rate after the first million. No one on Earth needs more than one million per year. Studies show over and over again that max happiness is reached at around $75,000 per year. In fact I'd be willing to bet percentage wise more billionaires die unhappy than working class citizens. Share the wealth with all who created it...what a happy and peaceful world we'd have. The rich would still be rich, just not quite as filthy!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 31 weeks ago

Good point chuckle8...things were heading in the prosperity direction for the vast majority for decades before the biggest lie ever told got put in place by Reagan/Thatcher!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 31 weeks ago

Not quite as filthy, as 10-K suggests.... or as piggish. But I doubt I'll live long enough to see this system transformed into something equitable and just. I only wish we could stop calling those of ordinary means "ordinary people", because I've known too many extraordinary people of ordinary means to buy into that! We really need to stop defining ourselves by what we have or don't have, in my opinion. What we have is not who we are. - AIW

kloro's picture
kloro 8 years 31 weeks ago

"It's time to fight for an economy that works for all the people of the world..."

useless unless we know what alternative economic system we're fighting for. the other side at least deludes itself that it has a system worth fighting for. what system do we propose as an alternative?

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 8 years 31 weeks ago

As we have learned from their methodical destruction of the New Deal, it is suicidal to allow any vestige of capitalism -- or any capitalists -- to survive. This harsh truth will be increasingly obvious in the apocalyptic world of ever-worsening shortages that is now our unavoidable doom. Because of what capitalism is -- infinite greed elevated to maximum virtue (and thus the morally imbecilic rejection of every humanitarian precept our species ever set forth) -- it will always arise and in its quest for unlimited profits seek to destroy not just the common good but the environment itself. Capitalism -- especially in its logical extensions as fascism and Nazism -- is therefore the darkest most deadly evil ever spawned by our species.

The question, then, is what to replace it with. The purpose of government is to enable us to do collectively that which we cannot do individually. Anarchy, though emotionally attractive to the ignorant, is therefore doomed. It is destined, as in Somalia or Libya, to be self-destroyed by the same might-makes-right penchant for evil that produced capitalism, fascism and Nazism. Any form of socialism -- at least in the United States -- is likewise doomed. This is because the conditioning of the entire USian population in the selfish, indeed self-obsessed principles of Ayn Rand individualism has created a population utterly incapable of collective thinking. As a result, the politicians and bureaucrats universally operate from the everything-for-me-and-fuck-you values of the Ruling Class. USian officials -- men and women whom under socialism would presumably represent the people's interest -- are thus as viciously self-serving as any megacorporation's chief executive. We have literally been reduced to a nation of moral imbeciles -- which means, because relentless selfishness now invariably trumps all other considerations -- we have been rendered utterly incapable of any genuine sort of self-government.

No doubt a strict Marxian educational program could, at least in the younger generations, reverse the inculcated selfishness that fuels capitalism and capitalist governance. Of all the forms of socialism, only Marxism offers the requisite ideological and intellecftual discipline. But who would be the educators? Are there any USians who have not been irremediably tainted by capitalist greed? A very few, to be sure. But they are so few they will never be able to acquire the requisite power -- especially in a nation of people so morally depraved they willingly choose slavery rather than give up the modern "conveniences" that are destroying our planet and dooming our species to extinction.

I will of course continue working on behalf the cause of socialism because, even in old age, that is who and what I am. But I will never again inflict heartache on myself by allowing myself to be seduced by the self-indulgence of hope.

Palsimon's picture
Palsimon 8 years 31 weeks ago

Most people commenting on this blog are not experts on our corrupt political system, and the only information they have is what they hear from major media, which is controlled by the 1%. Few take the time to study the problems of our voting system, or economic system, or political science in general. Most voters are either too busy working for a living, or misbehaving, or competing for jobs, or competing for making the best appearances, or competing to have the prettiest and best house or car, etc., to actually learn something about our political and economic system. All of us are subject to being brainwashed by propaganda.

For these reasons I do not think many people should have a vote on anything of importance. We need honest experts to make our decisions based on what their expert opinions tell them is best for our country. They must be expected to be open and explain to us what they are doing and why, and how what they are doing is in our best interest. They need to talk to us on the level of education that most of us have so we understand. And we must be able to hold their feet to the fire if they betray us, (as they do now.)

We need a whole new system for placing power into the hands of our leaders. That is the real question. How do we do that?

Palsimon's picture
Palsimon 8 years 31 weeks ago

Some things we need to be doing to get the money out: WALK, SHOUT, TWEET, BLOG, AND ORGANIZE

WALK, WALK, WALK Lawrence Lessig: The unstoppable walk to political reform | Talk Video | TED.com

AND SHOUT, SHOUT, SHOUT: "Bernie for President"

and TWEET, TWEET, TWEET: Need Viral re-tweet. We must show we will support bravery Article: Bernie Sanders Versus Citizens United | OpEdNews http://bit.ly/1sSUeyt


OpEdNews A Revolution: Part III The Devil in Details. http://bit.ly/1g1nI3Q Support Art
V Convention. Join the conversation.........................pleeeeeeze!
The Plan - Wolf PACwolf-pac.com bit.ly/1otkeRq
this and other organizations
are involved in getting an amendment to the constitution that will help us
reduce the power of our corporate oppressors in selecting our candidates for public office.


Richard D Wolff
This economist shows how we can avoid the failures of all the isms over time, and evolve a new way of life.


Labor Unions Should Transform to Producers' Ownership
Unions | NationofChange
nationofchange.org bit.ly/1n7QFUM


Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 8 years 31 weeks ago

The very best kind of economy is circular in structure and very simple--this can be the free market or capitalist system, but with proper rules and regulations that protect and respect each member of the circle--who work together for a common goal:

Workers are paid (living wages). Workers buy (reasonably priced, safe products). Business profits (long-term). Workers/consumers are 2/3 of ANY BUSINESS.

But the way our ecomony is structured now is a pyramid, where all money flows to the top and stays or is selfishly and priggishly doled out by the heavily rewarded few, who profit by punishing the slavish many. It is time we stopped them.

A circular economy allows opportunity, creativity, and new ideas to flow from ALL of its citizens, not just the ones with money and connections and the drive to defend the old ways under which they first prospered. We can solve the greatest problems our planet faces when we include everyone and honor ideas that solve these problems without the motive of profit. I think we are way past the "ME" on this planet and need to focus on the "WE," if we are to survive as a species. We are facing the Fall of the Roman Empire on a global scale--with selfish, greedy conservatives leading the way now as they did then in ancient Rome.

Village Idiot's picture
Village Idiot 8 years 31 weeks ago

According to Thomas Piketty, the Top Marginal Rate in the USA only applies to a small fraction of the income of high income individuals who receive their incomes from Dividends and Capital Gains because they structure their investment portfolios to simply roll over any gains into the account. The only fraction taxed at the Top Marginal Rate is the fraction withdrawn from the account for living expenses.

The Dividend and Capital Gains rate is now at 20% (It was 15% during the Bush Tax Cut era), which is the relevent rate paid by high income individuals. This is why people like Warren Buffet and Mitt Romney only paid about a 16% (Buffet) or 14% (Romney) overall tax rate over the past several years.

DonaldFG 8 years 31 weeks ago

The Venus Project would work for all the people! Just saying.

Of course we have a lot of educating to get there.

Doug999's picture
Doug999 8 years 31 weeks ago

Thom I called in just before the 2012 election to say is our democracy being taken away regarding MSNBC being taken off Comcast just before the election, You said No way..

Now CNN has just been taken off the air again just before our mid-term National election, excuse me Sir, Conspiracy Theory. Our elections being taken over just another way, Tell Thom is this apart of Koch Brothers money or something else?

I watch your show all the time, and by the way I cancelled my Comcast in 2012 and Now will cancel my Dish. What can an American Liberal do? if they take off even moderate television programming. I have contacted my Senators, Bernie Sanders, and Patrick Leahy. Oh and by the way I am the same person who called into your show when Bernie was on, and made the point that my daugther told me about my X wife brother who was apart of the company who made up the O'Bama Care Connect website, and their Parents joking about him being apart of it. Both you and Bernie said No, they doubt, that Koch brothers or some conspiracy theory were behind the terrible web-site, yet now I find out that there was a virus that was planted in the initial web-site. Man I am relying on you and Bernie now...yet you don't see these to be backed by Republican influence..Why are not you asking these questions and not just me?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 30 weeks ago

Doug999 -- Where did you here about the virus? You need to read the time article about the Obamacare website (Code Red). Why on earth would one need to implant a virus. A lack of money for development accomplished more than any virus could.

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