Last Friday, a YouTube video on the wealth inequality in America went viral, hitting over 3 million viewers. This is nowhere compares to the views that Gangnam Style hit but in terms of actual worth… it is up for debate. Posted by an anonymous YouTube account holder by the name of ‘Politizane’ back in November 2012, the video is a graphic collaboration of numerous sources that breaks down both the idea, belief and reality of the distribution of wealth in the United States.
After watching the video, some may immediately accept the information. Some may not. And some may even not understand what it all means. With a total wealth of $54 trillion in 2009, the reality of wealth distribution is beyond skewed from what 92% of Americans (according to a survey conducted by the Harvard economist) both think and would see as the ideal distribution of wealth. According to the anonymous narrator, it is so skewed that the top 1% wealth is not able to be included on the chart.
Wealth is determined in part by assets. It also includes things such as cars, houses and property, businesses, savings, and investments. Before getting too far into economic terms, let it be known that the wealth mentioned in the video includes a lot of the intangible aspects of someone’s net worth such as bonds, stocks, etc. With this being said and going with the average ‘net worth’ of the reader, think about everything you own. You may own a Dell laptop. You may own a Seattle’s Best coffee mug. Those are both owned by people. Actual, real people, who also technically own the millions of other Dell products and coffee mugs out there in hands of millions of Americans. Doesn’t the wealth gap make a little more sense?
The video gets at the myth that the top 10% or 1% ‘work harder’ than those in the 90%. The attempt to quantify ‘work harder’ seems odd but actually helps the argument of the narrator. It isn’t possible that millions of Americans just aren’t ‘working hard’ enough. It is, however, possible that those investors, CFOs, CEOs, and bankers making up the top few percents are making the money they are because of the risks they have taken to put their money in the sources such as stocks, companies, and bonds.
It seems shocking that in a country driven by the consumerism of Apple products and Angry Birds paraphernalia that there would be 15.1% (that’s 46.9 million) of Americans living around and below the poverty line. What can we do to change this? When we find ourselves perhaps even fitting the description of the bottom 20%, does that mean that we have not yet achieved ‘the American Dream’?
No. But what it does mean is that we must begin to understand our connection with the rest of the world. Our laws and government allow us to live in general peace and comfort despite this clear gap in who controls the most wealth in our country. However, as we constantly look to developing nations such as India, China, the Congo, we must try to relate our issues with wealth inequality with theirs. We need to utilize our resources such as free speech, calling our congressmen and women, senators, writing letters, to ask them to help us to close the gap of wealth inequality in our country so we can close the thousands of gaps around the world.
– Deena Dulgerian
Source:Mashable, Yahoo! News