America’s new ‘economic guillotine’ is dead ahead
Commentary: Wealth report on inequality calls to mind French Revolution
By Paul B. Farrell
Oct. 16, 2013
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Credit Suisse’s new Global Wealth Report reminds us of the 1790s when inequality ignited the French Revolution and 40,000 met the guillotine. Today, Credit Suisse data reveal that just 1% own 46% of the world, while two-thirds of the world’s people have less than $10,000 wealth.
Credit Suisse predicts a world with 11 trillionaires in a couple generations, as the rich get richer and the gap widens.
Can this trend continue? Or will it trigger an “economic guillotine?” Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz, author of “The Price of Inequality,” is not as optimistic as Credit Suisse: “America likes to think of itself as a land of opportunity.” But today the “numbers show that the American dream is a myth … the gap’s widening … the clear trend is one of concentration of income and wealth at the top, the hollowing out of the middle, and increasing poverty at the bottom.”
History is warning us: Inequality is a recipe for disaster, rebellions, revolutions and wars. Not in two generations. Much, much sooner, a reminder of the Pentagon’s famous 2003 prediction: “As the planet’s carrying capacity shrinks, an ancient pattern of desperate, all-out wars over food, water, and energy supplies will emerge … warfare will define human life on the planet by 2020.” Yes, much sooner than two generations.
Revolutions catch us off-guard, ignite suddenly, spreading like fire