Symptom: Wealth Inequality
Eighty people possess as much wealth as the world’s 3.6 billion poorest people, according to a report by the antipoverty nonprofit Oxfam. The report finds that since 2009, the wealth of those 80 richest has doubled—-while the wealth of the poorest 50 percent has fallen. A recent study shows that in America the wealthiest 160,000 families own as much wealth as the poorest 145 million families. The 100 richest people in the world earned enough money in 2012 to end extreme world poverty four times over, according to Oxfam. The war on poverty began with Lyndon Johnson in 1968 and yet we are no closer to winning the war.
It is time to face some truths about Wealth Inequality. Is it greed or irrational fear?
♥ Despite wealth levels, the average human is operating from the need to protect themselves and their family from material want. As seen in a supermarket before a storm, there is a human tendency to hoard much more than what we need in fear of going without. This is the poverty mindset that even afflicts the most affluent. Our primitive origins selected for a brain chemistry that is very responsive to fear. Hoarding money even when you have millions is a symptom of irrational fear, not greed.
♥ These instinctual drives to put personal selfinterest above that of others, distorts our perceptions to the point of treating other humans as things to be used, bought and sold.
♥ It is human nature to want to help someone in dire need, but the brain is fearful, it wants to blame the victim for his or her poverty. If poverty can be blamed on laziness or lack of initiative then we feel safer from poverty because we are not like “them”.
♥ The media plays on our fears and jealousies, feeding into our brain’s tendency to pit us against them, so on every issue we end up divided against ourselves.
♥ Even those working to reduce poverty often find themselves fighting against others who share their values, competing for funding sources rather than cooperating with each other.
♥ The modern world has enough wealth for all, it is only our fears that cause hoarding. Many do “without” while the few have more then they could ever use. Our challenge is not a lack of resources; our challenge is overcoming the basic tendencies of a brain that is not well adapted to the modern world. Our real hope for survival is a dramatic upgrade in our understanding and adaptation of our brain to current conditions.
We need to Leap Forward!
Having it all and wanting more, Oxfam.org January 2015
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