Negotiating with my middle class guilt, I have been pondering over this article. I had posted on Richistans earlier – somehow the obscenity of excessive (many would disagree here) wealth continues to irk me and thankfully countless others.
Hiram Lee writes:
“Forbes magazine has published its 2007 list of the 400 richest people in America. This marks the 25th anniversary of the list first begun in 1982. The richest person in America then was Daniel Ludwig, a shipping tycoon worth $2 billionâ€”$4.3 billion today, when adjusted for inflation. His fortune is today dwarfed by the obscene levels of wealth maintained by the current Forbes 400. Number one in 1982, Ludwigâ€™s fortune would just barely earn him a spot as one of the top 80 richest Americans today.
The year 2006 marked the first time that $1 billion was a prerequisite for placement on the Forbes list. Now, only a year later, this is no longer adequate. $1.3 billion is the current â€œprice of admission.â€ Most shamefully, the combined net worth of the individuals on the list is now an astonishing $1.54 trillion dollars, up $290 billion since last yearâ€™s list.”
After making a reference to the startling levels of poverty in the US, this is what the author says about global poverty:
“In the opening sentences of a report by the International Food Policy Research Institute entitled â€œThe Challenge of Hunger 2007,â€ we read this horrifying statistic: â€œOne in seven people go to bed hungry every day. Thatâ€™s 854 million people worldwide.â€ In addition to this, Forbes, in its own magazine heralding the 25th anniversary of the richest Americans list, was itself compelled to report that 1 billion people in the world live on $1 per day or less.”
Lee then lambasts the system that perpetuates this state of affairs:
“As more and more wealth is concentrated with alarming speed and with more predatory methods into the hands of the smallest minority, the living conditions of poor and working class people throughout the world are driven further and further into the ground..”