Displaying items by tag: inequality
Covid-19 has plunged the world into an economic crisis and accelerated digitisation in the workplace. Adopting digital technology creates opportunities for millions of new businesses and jobs, but millions without access to technology are left jobless. Unequal access to the internet and technology will impact the unskilled and offline communities in the developing world where connectivity is expensive, slow and unreliable. For example, a vegetable trader in Nairobi may make basic mobile phone payments but cannot sell his produce online because most of his buyers are neither online nor aware of e-commerce. Governments in developing countries lack the funds, and private companies lack financial incentives to invest in broadband for all. The economic crisis triggered by the pandemic will discourage investing digital infrastructure where it is most needed. Pray for the 3.2 billion people who will remain unconnected, those who don't have laptop jobs or access to virtual education or work, to find ways to survive in post-pandemic times.
England contains many diverse, multicultural cities, and the current uprisings spectacularly play out in them. The movement’s heart is about injustices that go back decades - and centuries - with global foundations. Many parts of the UK have deep issues with racism that have long needed to be challenged, talked about, rectified and healed. On 15 June Boris Johnson announced plans to create a cross-government commission to examine racial inequality and the disparities experienced by minority ethnic groups in education, health and the criminal justice system. He said he could not ignore the strength of feeling shown by tens of thousands of people who had demonstrated in London and other cities across the UK. He said, ‘It is no use just saying that we have made huge progress in tackling racism. There is much more that we need to do; and we will.’
The 2018 Global Slavery Index revealed that North Korea has the most human slaves in the world. Research showed it keeps over 2.6 million people in modern day slavery - that is, one in every ten citizens is forced to work under slavery conditions. A UN Commission of Inquiry has observed that violations of human rights in North Korea are not mere excesses of the state, they are an essential component of the political system. Eritrea, described as ‘a repressive regime that abuses its conscription system to hold its citizens in forced labour for decades’, has the second highest prevalence of modern slavery. The others in the top ten are Burundi, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Mauritania, South Sudan, Pakistan, Cambodia, and Iran. Most of these nations have conflict, displacement, and a lack of physical security. However, the conditions in North Korea, Eritrea, and Burundi stand out because slavery is state-imposed.
The USA has the greatest inequalities, highest mortality rate, most regressive taxes, and largest public subsidies for bankers and billionaires of any developed capitalist country. According to the IRS, billionaire tax evasion amounts to $458 billion dollars in lost public revenues annually. Corporations sheltered over $2.5 trillion dollars in overseas tax havens and they paid no taxes. Bankers earned billions in profits from mortgage foreclosures of working class households through ‘favourable’ legal rulings. Over 20 million individuals lost their properties due to illegal or fraudulent debts. Silicon Valley’s billionaires pay manual and service workers poverty level wages. Class inequalities are reinforced by ethnic divisions. White, Chinese and Indian multi-millionaires exploit Afro-American, Latin American, Vietnamese and Filipino workers. Inequalities are a result of low wages, based on big profits, financial swindles, multi-trillion dollar public handouts and multi-billion-dollar tax evasion.
Oxfam research shows that Brazilians earning the minimum wage would have to work for nineteen years to make as much as a rich person in Brazil’s top 0.1% makes in one month. At the current pace it would take Brazil 75 years to reach the UK’s current level of income equality. Oxfam had already reported that just six Brazilians own as much money as the poorest half of the country. ‘This is an unjust, unacceptable, and unsustainable situation,’ said Oxfam Brazil’s executive director. ‘We cannot dance around this any more; tackling inequality head-on is everyone’s responsibility. This report is our way of kick-starting this conversation.’ Experts say Brazil’s current situation is due to a backsliding tax system; racial and gender discrimination that erodes the rights of women and black Brazilians; a political system that concentrates power; and politicians highly prone to corruption.
The Equality Trust reports, ‘The richest 10% of households spend more on eating out (£58.40) than the poorest 10% of households spend on housing, fuel and power combined (£44.50). They spend £34.50 per week on furniture and furnishings, that’s more than the weekly food shop of the poorest 10% (£30.40).’ The list also covers alcohol, clothing and pets, revealing a massive gap between the richest and poorest households and huge inequality in our society. We often criticise the poor for being wasteful, but the richest are spending more on their pets than the poorest are on clothing their families. Many people are working, budgeting, and making difficult choices about which necessities to go without. Millions more are in danger of falling into debt and poverty. UK income inequality is among the highest in the developed world and evidence shows that this results in poorer mental and physical health, higher violent crime, poorer educational outcomes and lower levels of trust.