Eight years ago, almost to the day, I reblogged a post by David Robertson that featured the above video, entitled ‘Wealth Inequality in America’. I’ve tried more than once over the years since then to get that post to actually show the video — not just the link to it — but for whatever reason, WordPress just doesn’t want to do it. The ‘reblog’ function seems to be badly borked.
So, to get around that, I’ve decided to do something I rarely do: repost the content. David Robertson’s WordPress blog, though still active, hasn’t been updated for years. I got in touch with him about three years ago and he admitted that he’d moved on to another blog (only that one also seems to be in the doldrums, too).
The video above was uploaded to YouTube on 20Nov2012. Some argue that, as such, it’s dated. Well, yes, it is; but the numbers aren’t irrelevant because of that. In reality, the problem it highlights has only gotten worse. (Much worse.)
Some others would argue “Oh, it’s talking about the USA, and I don’t live in the USA, so those numbers don’t apply to me.” I would argue that, if you think that, you’re in denial. You’re deluding yourself, in much the same way as those who believe that we never landed on the Moon, or those who believe the Earth is flat.
I would urge you to watch the video. But if you do, you have to pay attention, because the crucial point it makes is easily missed. At first glance it appears to be bemoaning wealth inequality, and it’s all too easy to focus on that. However, The important point it makes is not about the extent of the inequality (which is in itself truly shocking); it’s about the perception of the extent of the inequality. The video highlights that while most people accept that the wealthiest get ‘a lot more’, they are totally oblivious to exactly how much more wealthy the wealthiest in society truly are.
As David Robertson says in his original post:
This is one of those “you bunch of bastards” moments.
Moments that the people on the right don’t want you to have.
It’s not that I’m against people having lots of money, or even a disparity in wealth. I get by just fine on what I have. But money is power, and the amount of money in the top 20% – hell, the top 1% – is enough to bend society and democracy and markets and business and media. And that’s dangerous.