- Which statistic on wealth inequality in the US (discussed on p. 29) made the biggest impression on you? Explain why?
“The top 1 percent own between 40 and 50 perent of the nation’s total wealth… more than the bottom 90 percent combined” (Parenti 29)
This stands out to me because it is truly incomprehensible. It makes sense given my understanding of how capitalism requires the continued expansion of exploitation in order for the wealthy to profit, but it is a statistic that I cannot fully comprehend because of its inherent greed and lack of empathy.
- What could be some of the implications of living in a society that has such huge wealth inequalities? Do you see this dynamic getting played out in everyday life in our society? How so? Example?
We see the implication of wealth inequality daily. Capitalists have created a system where to maintain profitable, and therefore to maintain their exploitation of workers, they do not have to consider the burdens of exploitation. Workers are themselves largely responsible for healthcare, medical expenses, food, housing, education, and other necessities for themselves and their families, let alone anything to maintain mental well-being beyond a mandatory 2 weeks vacation within corporate jobs. My employer should have a vested interest in compensating me enough to cover my needs, so I am able to continue adding value to their products, but instead the burden is on me as an individual, exploited worker to cover the costs of living without being appropriately compensated for my value add or otherwise taken care of. This injustice plays out most starkly to me within the healthcare system; people should not have to crowdfund or else go without medical care, but it is a common occurrence in the US. Workers die because they are unable to afford basic needs, but because we are both profitable and replaceable, capitalists do not care and will not voluntarily change their actions until forced.