Discussion Board 5.3

  1. Which statistic on wealth inequality in the US (discussed on p. 29) made the biggest impression on you? Explain why?
  2. 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?

DB 5.3 Kayla Zagal

  • Which statistic on wealth inequality in the US made the biggest impression on you? Explain why? The statistic on wealth inequality that made the biggest impression on me would be how capitalists say they are “putting their money to work,” but the money as such does not work. They really mean is they are using their money to put human labor to work, paying workers less in wages than they produce in sales. This is how money “grows.” My explanation would be how the capitalists just get the workers and treat them with the unfairness they don’t need. The wages are less and the workers don’t earn the money they deserve. Capitalists get that money and use it to their advantage. Workers have to live off bad experiences and not feel grateful.
  • 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? The implications would be the boroughs in New York City and how the income are very different like Manhattan has the highest while Queens and Bronx are at the lowest income. I see people have different living conditions, either happy or disappointed that they either have the place they wanted or they can’t because of the income being high.

D.B 5.3 – Justine Lazdina

#1. The statistic that made the biggest impression on me, discussed on p. 29, was the fact that only 1% of the population owns between 40-50% of the total wealth in the U.S. What is more shocking is the fact that this wealth is more than the total wealth of 90% of Americans COMBINED.

The reason why this statistic left such an impression on me was due to the sheer amount of wealth that is held by such a tiny percentage of the population, and the implications that this must have on HOW this wealth must have been accrued.

#2. There most certainly are many implications of living in a society with such a huge wealth gap. The biggest one being the very visible sign of inequality within a society.

You can see this dynamic played out in everyday life by comparing the people who have to actually work vs those who can sit back and enjoy their wealth. The working class are unable to do much else BESIDES work, since their lives are made up of trying to sustain themselves and their families, barely able to go on their two weeks per year – if that – vacations. On the other hand, you have the capitalist class whose lives ARE like one big luxurious vacation. You can see this disparity in the neighborhoods we live in; the wealthy have safe, nice clean neighborhoods while the poorest have ghettos. You can see it in the transportation we use; the wealthy have chauffeured cars while the rest of us ride the subway. You can see it in our education system; the wealthy have their expensive public schools while the rest of us have to use underfunded public schools.

ZHONGQUAN

1.The special effects of capital society determine that capital will inevitably gather in a certain person. This is not surprising. Remember one thing whether it is capital, capitalist or capitalism. Their focus is on the word “capital”. Capitalists are not “people”, they are the embodiment of the personification of capital. Capital controls capitalists, not capitalists control capital. This can also answer a question. Why do capitalists need to exploit their employees after they are so rich? The purpose of capital is to multiply and expand infinitely. Capital will not get tired. Capital will only multiply indefinitely like cancer cells. If a capitalist’s capital cannot continue to increase in value, it will be eliminated and swallowed by more capable capital. As a capitalist, as long as you are in this position, your behavior pattern must be completely in accordance with the needs of capital accumulation. In other words, once they have such an identity, capitalists lose their freedom of choice to a certain extent. You can only make the company bigger and bigger, and the net profit will be higher and higher, and you will not want to reduce your income and give back to the labor. This is not a question of morality or ethics. This is the law of capitalist society.

2. I don’t have many ideas. I just want to ask one question, whether the law should protect private property from illegal infringement by others. Jurists, economists, and many other experts can give me countless arguments. I only have a rhetorical question, if one day, even the air you breathe is the private property of others, what will you do?

Ignacio on Capital Concentration

1. I got the biggest impression from knowing that the top 1 percent owns almost half of the total wealth of America, for me this is a very delicate matter because to have money means to have power and that the power of the top 1 percent could control the rest of the 99 percent due to their money power is preoccupying, even more if this 1 percent is already inside the government, because they would control both the private and public entities that shape our country.

2. Living in a society with huge wealth inequalities, gives the power to a small group of people to exploit the ones in need, and profiting from it. Drags technological and human advancement and kills the opportunity for others to compete in the economy. The consequences that a society suffers when these inequalities exist is a never-ending spiral of suffering for the poor and even the middle class that disappears little by little due to the greed and corruption of the wealthy helped by the government, making everyday even harder to pay for health, food, and education. The wealthy do not suffer from the price-control of monopolies because they own them, they do not suffer from recessions because a big part of them gets bailed out by the government with taxpayer’s money when they do not even contribute their fair share to the system. In New York, a good example is how landlords always try to squeeze the most out of renters, now, most of the buildings are corporate owned and they rent prices increase constantly every year o 2 years because they try to keep a constant renewal of the leases so they can raise prices due to the “inflation”, they give you poor maintenance service when needed and take a long time to respond.

Discussion Board 5.3 Hongtao Fu

1.Which statistic on wealth inequality in the US (discussed on p. 29) made the biggest impression on you? Explain why?

The worst realization I had after reading the statistics is that the few people in the top 1 percent of the society own almost 50 percent of the total wealth. Imagining where one person owns so much, he can literally buy half of the city and leave all the rest of us just huddled together on the other half of the city. That amount of money means so much power and it makes me think there is just no way the government and these individuals are not connected and their power had nothing to say for the fate of the rest of humanity. And it gives chills knowing the people with this amount of power are putting profit on top of their list.

2.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?

I think New York City has such dramatic wealth inequalities that are being displayed every day we don’t even notice it anymore. Manhattan and Queens look like two different cities. All the way from people who live in nicely designed art deco mansions with doorman in suits open doors for you to people living in basement rooms separated by a single plank of wood.

Wealth Inequality

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

5.3

  1. Which statistic on wealth inequality in the US (discussed on p. 29) made the biggest impression on you? Explain why?

The statistic on wealth inequality in the United States that made the biggest impression on me is “90 percent of American families have little or no net assets.2”. This created an impression on me, and it also makes me sad because those American families go into this cycle of poverty, where they work hard for themselves and their families.

2.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 community? How so? Example?

Some of the implications of living in a society with such a huge wealth inequality would be that low-income people might not live there since it will be more expensive. The lower classes will be unable to advance. It is hard to get out of the cycle of poverty. However, For instance, wealthy families have better education. Their families can also teach them how to run a business or inherit their family’s member business.

Nikita Vasilyev – D.B. 5.3

  1. The most impressive statistic for me was the fact that 90 percent of American families have little or no net assets. I haven’t given enough thought to debts and mortgages since those topics are not the most popular – it is absolutely demoralizing to be aware of the fact that most part of the day the capitalist gets your labor for free and, on top of that, a chunk of your paycheck goes towards settling debt with another capitalist. It seems that the institution of family that presupposes an attempt to achieve stability, safety and prosperity is under severe pressure from the capitalist class, since the ideals of family are still propagated in the media and advertising while the reality is such that the American Dream is not so easily achievable. 
  2. 2a) Wealth inequalities provide for one-sided socio-economic influence – the capitalists wield plenty of social/political power which affords them enrichment opportunities. They use those opportunities without batting an eye while promoting “happiness for everybody”. We can see this propaganda in media and entertainment, where the common story of members of the working class that imagine themselves to be capitalists is simple – all they have to do is purchase a commodity (education) and then sell it later for more money to a potential employer who, impressed with a candidate’s background, will give them a job. This scenario does not always work – when trying to implement M-C-M`, the working-class member realizes that they weren’t the only one in the exchange since the corporation (University) sold them a commodity that they got for free while using the surplus labor from the academic staff. 2b) Another implication Is that working class is constantly pressured to compete for a job to survive, however even getting a job does not guarantee long term employment or success. Corporations, that use downsizing, speedups and downgrading to make profit, have little concern for their employees – they could find cheaper labor elsewhere and keep making profit. We can see this clearly in the clothing industry, where companies, pressured to adjust their sweatshop practices in poorer countries, reversed the media attention to priding themselves on involvement into sustainable production and the involvement in worker’s well-being. Considering a possibility, where the same group of capitalists owned the clothing company and the media, all that needed to happen was a phone call.

DB 5.3

  1. 90 percent of American families having little no no net assets stands out to me the most. It just speaks more to reasons many working-class Americans are living check to check and are in debt. Considering these large, flourishing corporations creating low-wage jobs and high priced liabilities (cars, electronics, medical bills) it’s no wonder so many people are struggling. The same capitalistic systems we depend on to suit our daily lives also benefit from our regular paychecks and unawareness of the underpinnings of their systems. Yes, there is plenty of information and resources to learn more about what they do and how we can maybe participate more in investing and other wealth building tools but most people will not participate due to their own personal circumstances — mostly likely because they can’t afford too.

2. Poverty, increase in crime, and homelessness would be a few outcomes with living in a society with such a large gap in wealth equality. One positive about wealth inequality in America is seeing that example of creating wealth and having the possibility of obtaining that. But what happens if you don’t get that chance? Due to location, lack of education, and lack of funds to obtain quality education the opportunity may not be there and you are therefore relegated to an impoverished standard of living or even homelessness. Crime may seem like an attractive option if it involves getting what you need to survive or simply acting out violent crimes due to frustration. 

Dramatic wealth inequality is still prevalent today so I would say these things are still playing out. The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on wealth inequality. With minimal to no savings, investments, and assets, many Americans quickly had to turn to unemployment aid with fear of losing their homes if can’t pay rent or mortgage. Violent crimes were said to have increased during the pandemic as well. Unfortunately, the working class people and even small business owners who could not financially prepare for something like this were negatively affected and left to fend for themselves the best way they could. 

Discussion 5.3-Jasmin Amigon

  1. I found it interesting is that no matter how hard you work throughout your lifetime you won’t become rich because as stated “If you aren’t rich, it is because you lacked the foresight to pick the right parents at birth”  The rich are usually wealthy because on inherited fortunes. Usually, the class your parents are in is most likely where you would stay. I believe there are people that have worked hard to at least move a bit upward. But, there is less upward social mobility today than a generation ago.
  2. Some implications of living in a society that has huge wealth inequalities could result in higher rates of health and social problems because it reduces social cohesion which can lead to more stress, fear, and insecurity for everyone. In addition, lower level of economic growth when human capital is neglected for high-end consumption.