(August 10, 2011) – According to the recently released Report of the National Equality Panel (http://bitly.com/p6yB3O) the top ten percent of British households are a shocking 100 times more wealthy than the lowest ten percent. How did they get there? Since the mid 1970s real income of the average British Citizen has stagnated while the incomes of the top 10 % have doubled and quadrupled. Since the 2008 financial crisis alone British CEOs of the FTSE 100 top corporations have increased their incomes by 51% to an average of 4.3 million pounds a year.
Meanwhile Joe Citizen has to face unemployment, increasingly unaffordable education, cuts to medicare, youth services, elderly services, etc.. Such blatant inequality is nothing less than looting. Over the last few days the anger has boiled over. Disenfranchised youth facing long term prospects of poverty and unemployment are turning to rioting in London and other cities as the only means of striking back and getting their hands on amenities they will be unlikely to obtain any other way.
Sadly, looting struggling shopkeepers in poor areas only adds to the suffering and risks turning the poor against the poor. Youth leaders, students and the middle class need to be educated as to who the real criminals are. This work is being done well by movements such as “UKUncut” (http://bitly.com/oHkTIy) who are organizing peaceful demonstrations outside wealthy banks and shops with proven records of “tax-dodging”. UKUncut is calling on the government to pay for bailing out the banks by making wealthy individuals and corporations pay their taxes – highlighting the fact that up to 20 billion pounds a year of government revenue are lost through tax avoidance. UKUncut rightly points out that if the wealthy merely paid their fair share of taxes no cuts would be necessary. The struggling British public has responded very favorably to these demonstrations – with as many as half a million people coming out on the streets of London on a single day.
With anger against exploitation mobilized to the extent of open revolt, it is urgently necessary to take the demands of protest one step further – how can we not only end such unethical disparity but prevent it from occurring in the first place? According to PROUT, in order to protect the welfare of the common citizen and prevent the greedy from exploiting others a humane society must set rational limits on individual accumulation. The ratio of minimum to maximum wealth should be fixed. The minimum should be calculated so that the average citizen can afford the basic necessities while the maximum should be calculated so as to provide individual incentive without harming the bulk of society. In other words there should be a fair balance between individual and collective interests. Capitalism with it’s inherent tendency to privatize profits and socialize losses has been clearly unable to do this.
So let’s get the message out on the street. We can do this by supporting UKUncut, Trade Union strikes and protests by all progressive groups and simply extending their “Tax the Rich” message into a demand for ethical limits on wealth. We can also get the idea out by using the opportunity to comment on relevant articles appearing daily in the electronic media such as The Guardian (http://bit.ly/oMhzDb), and other progressive or not so progressive media. And of course, tweet, blog, etc.
Copyright The author 2011