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The Only Way to Change Course is to Change the Rules

Mar 062014

Frustrated with the way things are going to hell in a hand basket? Change the rules.

The richest 300 people in the world have more wealth than the poorest 3 billion combined. Yes, you read that right! And every year rich countries take over 10 times more money from poor countries than they give in aid.

Watch this short video to get a real sense of the obscene accumulation of wealth by the very few, who are turning into our defacto kings. If we don’t want corporate rulers, we’ve got to change the rules.

From the “Change the Rules” video:

For most of history, things were much more equal. 200 years ago, rich countries were only 3 times richer than poor countries. By the end of colonialism in the 1960s, they were 35 times richer. Today, they’re about 80 times richer.

Rich countries try to compensate for this by giving aid to poor countries – about 130 billion dollars each year. That’s a lot of money. So then why does the wealth gap keep getting bigger?

One reason I found is that large corporations are taking more than 900 billion dollars out of poor countries each year through a form of tax avoidance called trade mispricing. On top of this, each year poor countries are paying about 600 billion dollars in debt service to rich countries, on loans that have already been paid off many times over. And then there’s the money that poor countries lose from trade rules imposed by rich countries to get access to more resources and cheaper labor.

Economists from the University of Massachusetts calculate that this costs poor countries about 500 billion dollars a year. All together, that’s more than 2 trillion dollars that flows from some of the poorest parts of the world to the richest, every year.

Rich governments like to say they’re helping poor countries develop, but who’s developing who here? This makes me think that there’s something wrong with the basic rules of the global economy.

It can’t be right that the wealth of our planet is becoming so concentrated in the hands of such a tiny number of people. The only reasonable response, it seems to me, and our only hope, is to change the rules.

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