Oinky Oinkerson and the fat to be eaten
By Ian Cobb
Before I launch, I must first point out a personal fact; I believe in free enterprise and the less government sniffing around my pockets the better.
I believe in smart; I believe in wise; and I don’t believe in blind ideological adherence to any principle or action despite the outcome.
By blind ideological adherence, I mean the behavior exhibited by far left and far right nut biscuits. For example: when a leftie spews non-factual rhetoric to try and ‘one up’ a developer; or when a rightie shrugs off environmental degradation because ‘at least it is good for the economy.’
It is the wielding of ‘truthiness,’ as Stephen Colbert coined; the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true, that is ruling the space where we govern ourselves in this world.
It isn’t just in Canada or America or the always-evil Belgium – this separation of heart and mind with actions is a worldwide malaise.
Perhaps it is ominous weight of collective apathy, created by the financial powers that be to ensure a steady diet of cheap labour, that has allowed ‘truthiness’ to take root. Or perhaps it is self obsession, fertilized and seeded to grow out of control via social media, that is making the collective human conscience worldwide so shallow and lazy.
Whatever the cause, unless there is a solution or two to the always widening gulf between the haves and have-nots in this world and its 7.2 billion people, there will come a tipping point.
Last week Oxfam issued a report entitled ‘Working for the Few; Political capture and economic inequality,’ that points out “half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population, and seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.
Oxfam’s Report, published before the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland states, “The World Economic Forum has identified economic inequality as a major risk to human progress, impacting social stability within countries and threatening security on a global scale.
“This massive concentration of economic resources in the hands of fewer people presents a real threat to inclusive political and economic systems, and compounds other inequalities – such as those between women and men. Left unchecked, political institutions are undermined and governments overwhelmingly serve the interests of economic elites – to the detriment of ordinary people.”
The richest 85 individuals in the world hold wealth equal to that owned by the poorest half of the planet’s population, according to Oxfam’s report.
It estimates that half the world’s wealth ($110 trillion US) is controlled by one per cent of the population, while the 85 richest control $1.7 trillion.
In addition, charitable organization Oxfam points out that the world’s wealthy hide about $21 trillion US in unrecorded and offshore accounts out of reach of governments.
Pause for a second to let the math or your lack of mathematical ability, like mine, to settle in. In short, if you were to try and paint a picture out of numbers that shouts “rampaging unsustainability on every level,” Oxfam’s figures are there for you to use.
Quickly: there are 1,000 million in a billion and 1,000 billion in a trillion; or a million millions make up a trillion.
Now consider the speed at which the world’s population is growing and how humankind is utilizing all resources and start charting the point in time when the expected malaise turns into starving, blistering rage.
And finally, consider what wealthy person and television personage Kevin O’Leary said during the Lang and O’Leary Exchange on CBC recently concerning Oxfam’s report.
It is “fantastic” that 85 people hold the same wealth as the world’s poorest half (3.5 billion souls), he proclaimed, as a noxious invisible gas hissed from his ‘blind ideological adherence’ gland.
“This is a great thing because it inspires everybody, gets them motivation to look up to the one per cent and say, ‘I want to become one of those people, I’m going to fight hard to get up to the top.’ This is fantastic news and of course I’m going to applaud it. What can be wrong with this?” O’Leary said, apparently seriously.
Now O’Leary isn’t your run of the mill rich asshole. He didn’t inherit ancestral wealth and begin squandering it with a wholly unearned sense of entitlement. He had to earn his money; good for him.
However, to be so wealthy and yet also be so unbelievably unaware of the most basic truth about life on Earth, that MOST people live in abject poverty and short of miracles have no chance at altering their stations in life without a hand up, shows that O’Leary truly is as common as the poorest street beggar in Haiti.
His blind ideological adherence to being a caricature of the one per cent wealthy elite when presented with such information, will merely make the 99% sharpen their teeth faster. But he doesn’t care.
Elitist, egomaniac narcissists without a faint sniff of an idea about what life is like for the other 99% of the world – whether middle class, low class, nowhere class or street-ridden – enjoy being smug and arrogant and generally don’t care what the poor think of their views or actions.
It is all scheme scheme scheme – stomp stomp stomp – demand demand demand – take take take – and whenever something gets in their way they rise up, like suddenly frightened horses and begin whinnying angrily (usually using the poor as soldiers etc.). It is the same sound a spoiled rotten five-year-old, with a face smeared in chocolate wearing knee high socks and short pants with suspenders makes when playtime is suspended for bedtime.
The unsustainable inequality in the world apparently won’t brush up against O’Leary, who must think his money will keep him safe at all times. I say this all merely based on his comments/attitude with a flourish of truthiness.
While Oxfam acknowledged some inequality encourages innovation and ambition, its report points out, “the extreme levels of wealth concentration occurring today threaten to exclude hundreds of millions of people from realizing the benefits of their talents and hard work.”
O’Leary probably laughed at the bleeding heartedness of it all, knowing the status quo is plenty more butter on his toast.
Oxfam’s report also warns that extreme inequality allows the wealthy to influence government policy for their benefit, exacerbate social tensions and raise the risk of “societal breakdown.”
And that breakdown will be a chaotic beat down where humankind lashes out, using all the wiles of human innovation and ambition.
Who knows how an eat-the-rich reckoning would pan out, but my crummy math skills tell me the odds are stacked against the snide and indifferent who do everything in their power to keep the status quo and lie and cheat to pad the stats for their blind ideological adherence.
Pass the mustard; thar be some roast pig a’comin’ as sure as there are ideological zombie puppets in the world’s halls of power preaching the status quo.
And ‘they’ wonder why voter turnout continues to plummet?