Today, a headline from The Guardian has been shared about on social media: that the ‘Richest 62 people as wealthy as half of world’s population, says Oxfam’. As one indication of how inequality has widened through the years of austerity – to the benefit of the world’s richest – almost exactly 2 years ago The Guardian wrote how the world’s 85 richest people were as wealthy as half of the world’s population. Last year it was 80 people. If wealth inequality continues at this rate, the world’s richest people will fit more comfortably in a van than in a bus.
Today is Martin Luther King Day. It is appropriate therefore, that along with this news story I take the opportunity to share some quotes by Dr. King about inequality. His expressions about charities and philanthropy are also quite relevant to the previous article I published.
“Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.”
“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.”
“A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”
“One day we must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America?’ … When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy.”