Economic inequality is worse than you think

econFrom Scientific American:

The average American believes that the richest fifth own 59% of the wealth and that the bottom 40% own 9%. The reality is strikingly different. The top 20% of US households own more than 84% of the wealth, and the bottom 40% combine for a paltry 0.3%. The Walton family, for example, has more wealth than 42% of American families combined.

And thanks, Leftover, for the link.

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  1. Rose-colored misperceptions and the core of the American Dream.
    I wonder how many times George Carlin has been quoted in Scientific American?

      1. As defined in the article, (“…the belief that anyone who works hard can move up economically regardless of his or her social circumstances”), I don’t believe it ever really existed. It’s an American Myth.

        1. I want to believe it was and could be a reality, but I’m not sure that’s a healthy want.

          1. A class-based society that establishes economic reward as the hallmark of individual success while intrinsically limiting economic opportunity cannot offer, at the end of a very long workday, much more than a dream…a myth.

            Our merit–reward system is fundamentally flawed.
            Capitalism…what a concept.

  2. But the Waltons endowed an art museum. Or at least one of them did. So when you’re homeless and wondering where your next meal is coming from, at least you can look at some nice paintings. If you live in the right place. If they let you in the door.

    1. Oh, Alice Walton’s “Crystal Bridges” has, I believe, free admission to that palace of wonders. So just … clean up a bit and present yourself at the door!

  3. And David Koch has contributed mightily to cancer research and a New York hosopital — some $101 million I gather. (Of course this is about one-ninth of the amount he and his brother have pledged to contribute to the upcoming presidential campaign. Hmmm.)

  4. We just cannot get ourselves off the train to inequality-town. I’m a big fan of Dan Ariely, and remember when he talked of his findings several years ago. No matter what truth is revealed, there are too many out there who will not let go of that security blanket called, “The American Dream”. Without that, they must face the fact that the world, their beloved Amurica, is not fair, even to them. It’s a different world than it was a few generations ago. We sure do have to wake up and wise up. Then, we need to act. That last part trips me up. I don’t know really what to do.

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