February 10, 2018 - No. 5


Global Concentration of Social Wealth


Davos Economic Forum as Disinformation
Global Inequality Report as Disinformation

For Your Information
World Inequality Report 2018

Global Concentration of Social Wealth

Davos Economic Forum as Disinformation

Protests in Zurich, Switzerland against Davos World Economic Forum, January 23, 2018.

The Davos Economic Forum is the prime location where the super-wealthy and their retinue discuss the global concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands and devise plans to both perpetuate this state of affairs and ward off dangers posed to their rule.

Each year an increasing number of speakers of all kinds are brought together to put forward all kinds of schemes which they claim will improve the lot of humankind, while preserving the system which makes the rich richer on one pole and the poor poorer on the other. This year was no exception. Besides the speeches by heads of state and government and those said to be experts on the economy, climate change and other main concerns "(d)ozens of panels and events were held on gender, diversity and inclusion, and two specifically focused on sexual harassment," the organizers state. "On the main drag outside the conference hall, you'll find The Equality Lounge from women's advocacy group the Female Quotient. The windows are emblazoned with slogans like 'Gender equality is a social and economic issue' and 'Diversity is good for business.'" They also highlight "an interactive exhibit called 'Women at Work: Myth vs. Reality' by consumer goods company Procter & Gamble."

One of the ways what is called news coverage of the Davos Economic Forum works is to get us all riled up decrying the lies of those who are called leaders. Heads of state and government and keynote speakers did not disappoint. They engaged is so many diversions, it makes one's head reel.

It reveals one way that the newsmakers and their retinue and the political power they represent work to deprive the peoples of the world of an outlook of their own. The peoples of the world need their own vantage point to analyze and elaborate their own interests within the conditions as they exist in the world, rather than decry the descriptions of those conditions by others who do not share their concerns. The all-pervasive promotion of the outlook of rulers reveals that the peoples lack the political power they need to affect change.

It is not a coincidence that the people who organize and attend the Davos Economic Forum define the word "outlook" in a manner that has to do with coordination. Whereas a dictionary definition gives the meaning which indicates a point of view or attitude to life, a vantage point or prospect for the future, a Google search for the word "outlook" illustrates the concept used by those who reduce the act of living to a coordination problem with the aim of maintaining control.[1] In other words, depriving people of their own outlook, in the sense of perspective, world view, vantage point, is not simply a matter of diversion or false news to keep them divided and subjugated. Today those who have usurped power by force operate as cartels and coalitions which collude and contend for hegemony. The main concern of these cartels and the rulers is to coordinate all the disparate forces that are colluding and contending using force, including forms of the use of force such as bullying and threats as well as takeovers. The aim is to control them, so as to come out on top. Whatever they cannot control, they seek to destroy.

Marx pointed out that from the vantage point of the capitalists, the relation which gives rise to the rich becoming richer on one pole and the poor becoming poorer on the other looks like appropriation; from that of the working class it looks like expropriation. But, he points out, these are mere historical phenomena. The real issue is the huge human productive powers that no one can control. He called them monstrous, vampire like. He specifically calls the bourgeoisie's appeals to use force in order to save their collapsing economy, a delusion. Those who have usurped power by force harbour the belief, based on "force theory," that violent force is decisive in determining the economic situation, the delusion that with force the collapsing economic situation can be reversed.[2] These rulers actually believe they can remodel the economy by using force to get those they strive to control to endorse what they call good policies. The issue is not that the capitalists do not use force or violence, but rather that they harbour the delusion that this is the only way they can control the situation.

What the conditions in fact reveal is that the existing political processes which prevail in the capitalist countries and imperialist heartlands can no longer perform their role of sorting out relations between elected and electors. The role of the political processes in place is to destroy the source of the political power, the polity. What is promoted are "choices" which are mindless, leave us aimless, something no one can get on board with.[3]

The fact remains that social relations are not things, they are relations. When we speak of the general, this refers to what is held in common by all. There is a problem of sorting out relations between the individual and the collective and harmonizing them in such a way as to put them on par. They must have an equivalence. And there is a problem of the relationship of the parts to the whole; the particular, or part, the polity, has to be harmonized with the whole, with the general interest of society as a whole. There is often a confusing of the relations, the part to the whole and the individual to the collective.

What the Davos Economic Forum revealed once again is that the rulers can be very destructive, but they cannot control the massive human productive forces with either force or violence or by switching policies and introducing new schemes to pay the rich. Their inability to deal with the ensemble of social relations between humans and humans and humans and nature and what they reveal -- the need for the people to acquire political power to make the decisions which affect their lives -- means it is time for them to depart from the scene of history.


1. A Google search of "outlook" brings up an application billed as a "personal information manager." It coordinates your emails, contacts, events and appointments and news viewing, manages your daily tasks and has colors indicating priority scales, everything which it deems is important to you so that you can prioritize and make good choices. It even has the option of telling you which things are important to you on the basis of prior choices you have made, such as sending a form reply to emails touching on certain key words without having to read them all.

2. According to this theory, the state is the result of superior physical forces; it originates in the subjugation of weaker by stronger.

3. The new general crisis assailing humankind is referred to in various ways such as climate crisis; mass famine and poverty on a global scale; mass migrations, impending armageddon or apocalypse, etc. What is left out is the common source of this general crisis -- the huge human productive powers that have been unleashed and are fettered by existing social relations, the whole of society being torn asunder; split in two.

Haut de


Global Inequality Report as Disinformation

Prior to the Davos Economic Forum held in January, a group of one hundred economists and technicians, mainly from France and the United States, issued World Inequality Report 2018 detailing the concentration of the social wealth workers produce in the hands of a small privileged class of rich. Using extensive data, the report compares the situation in 2016 with various periods reaching back to the First World War. The inequality report pays particular attention to the changes that have occurred since the rise of neo-liberalism in the 1980s. These changes accelerated with the collapse of the former Soviet Union based on anti-social theories and practice. Schemes to pay the rich were coupled with an anti-social offensive which denies the existence of societies and deprives them of an aim; considers nations that were erstwhile sovereign to be "economies" dominated by supranational private interests; and enacts political processes that destroy the source of the political power, the polity.

Neo-liberalism cannot cope with the incongruity between the claim that additional social wealth in the hands of a few will be used for economic expansion and will eventually trickle down to the working people and the reality which shows that the rich have become filthy rich while the numbers of those who languish in poverty have increased and the poor have become poorer. The economies of the capitalist countries and imperialist heartlands lurch from crisis to crisis and state-organized attacks on the working class increase and predatory wars are waged against weaker countries while preparations are made for larger inter-imperialist wars. Oligopolies operate as cartels and coalitions which strive for control as expressed in open clashes, bullying and threats to unleash aggression, including with nuclear weapons. These cartels and coalitions vie for control on a supranational basis. They politicize the private interests of individuals with great accumulated social wealth, depriving the polities of the significance they once had in prior historical periods.

The authors of the inequality report do not purport to give a social class analysis of the socialized economy. The report could be described rather as an a-class a-historical sociological one which nonetheless implies that the problem in the world is one of appropriation by the rich and dispossession of the poor. The claimants of the social wealth workers produce are not classified according to whether they sell their capacity to work or buy the capacity to work of the working class. The division is one of percentages according to where the claim on social wealth of an individual stands with regard to the claims of others, both workers and imperialists. Individuals are mostly divided into a top one per cent of those who earn or own social wealth, a top 10 per cent and a bottom 50 per cent, etc. It thus stops discussion that addresses how people claim the social wealth they possess or how the value comes into being. Social wealth exists and certain percentages of people earn or control a portion of it but the origin of social wealth and what right exists to claim and possess a certain percentage of it remain a mystery, at least within the inequality report. The same is true for the division of social wealth between private ownership and public ownership and the fall in public or state ownership since the 1980s.

More importantly, the inequality report does not recognize the social relations of humans and humans and humans and nature and what is revealed by these relations. Our fidelity is not to a percentile, to the 99 per cent, but to the ensemble of human relations. We constantly deal with reports which reduce human beings and the relations between humans and humans and humans and nature to things based on percentages, the one per cent, 99 per cent, per cent of income, per cent of control of the wealth, dividing that per cent, and so forth. There is no historical movement in that. The relations of humans and humans, and humans and nature on the contrary reveal the need for the working class to constitute the nation and vest political power in the people so that they can control the products of their own creation. Dividing the world into percentages presents us with an artificial construct which suggests we should remain faithful to a particular cause or interest group and not to the actual conditions and what they are revealing. The conditions do not reveal percentages and how life could be improved if only the one per cent, who control the vast quantity of the wealth the workers produce, describe the damage they are doing more accurately or if they are more fair in how they distribute their wealth. This presentation of how the global concentration of wealth appears is based on a false ideological belief imposed on the reality. It stymies inquiry directed at providing problems with solutions which open society's path to progress.

Haut de


For Your Information

World Inequality Report 2018

Today, one per cent of the world's population owns 82 per cent of
the planet's wealth

A takeaway from the World Inequality Report 2018 produced by the World Inequality Lab, is the already known conclusion that the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. The relationship between the rich and the poor is not presented on the basis of social class and how people acquire their living, but on where they fall on the scale of poorest to richest. With few exceptions, the data reveal the phenomenon of the rich getting richer occurring throughout the globe, especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 when the first sustained nation-building project of the modern working class, launched in 1917 with the Great October Socialist Revolution led by V.I. Lenin and J.V. Stalin and the Bolshevik Communist Party, was abandoned.

The inequality report states, "After a historical decline in most parts of the world from the 1920s to the 1970s, income inequality is on the rise in nearly all countries....

"In the industrialized world, Anglo-Saxon countries have experienced a sharp rise in inequality since the 1980s. In the United States, the bottom 50 per cent income share collapsed while the top share boomed. Continental European countries were more successful at containing rising inequality, thanks to a policy and institutional context more favorable to lower- and middle-income groups.

"In China, India, and Russia, three formerly communist or highly regulated economies, inequality surged with opening and liberalization policies. The steepest rise occurred in Russia, where the transition to a market economy was particularly abrupt.

"Inequality is extreme in Brazil, the Middle East, and South Africa, the world's most unequal regions. In these three large emerging markets, inequality currently reaches extreme levels: the top 10 per cent earners capture 55 per cent to 65 per cent of national income."

The inequality report makes a particular comment about Russia following the 1917 socialist revolution saying, "The abolition of private property in Russia, land redistribution, massive investments in public education, and strict government control over the economy via five-year plans effectively spread the benefits of growth from the early 1920s to the 1970s.... The implosion of the Soviet block and 'shock policies' in Russia, and deregulation and opening policies in India from the 1980s onwards, contributed to strong increases in top percentile income shares. The top 1 per cent share increased to 26 per cent in 1996 in Russia."

The inequality report states that in those countries that have just started in earnest the transition to industrial mass production from petty production after centuries of suffering under colonialism and the slave trade, which they call "emerging economies," the division between rich and poor is proceeding in ways similar to what is occurring in the centres of imperialism.

The report makes some attempt to reveal an unequal division of global social wealth between what it calls the "developing" or "poor" countries and the "rich" countries but does not analyse why this occurs or its roots in class society and imperialism. The report explains that the inequality between rich and poor countries appears to stem from global monopolies owning means of production in the developing countries and taking out the new value workers produce.

The inequality report states, "At the global level, net domestic product is equal to net domestic income: by definition, the market value of global production is equal to global income. At the national level, however, incomes generated by the sale of goods and services in a given country do not necessarily remain in that country. This is the case when factories are owned by foreign individuals, for instance. Taking foreign incomes into account tends to increase global inequality between countries rather than reduce it. Rich countries generally own more assets in other parts of the world than poor countries do."

The demand for tribute to flow from weaker dominated countries to the centres of imperialism is fundamental to the present era. Without the flow of tribute to the United States, Germany, France, the UK, and Japan, they could not sustain their military domination of weaker countries or create a compliant stratum within their own working class and intelligentsia that disinforms the polity to impede the working class building their own institutions and voice to defend the rights of all and prepare themselves for revolutionary change with new relations of production and politics where the actual producers, the working class, exercise control over the socialized economy.

Absent from the inequality report is any analysis of the colossal amount of social wealth directed towards armaments and war, especially in the leading imperialist countries. The social wealth consumed by state and private militaries in war and war preparations and by police powers to preserve the existing imperialist system of states and class privilege at home has reached stupendous amounts and created a powerful militarized sector of the economy with enormous political influence. U.S. imperialism alone has this year allocated a federal state budget of $700 billion for its military and an additional active "war budget" of $60 billion. Also, the local states and municipalities of the United States allocate tens of billions more for their police forces.

Absent from the report is also the contributing factor where anti-social offensives have been launched: social programs have been starved of investments and public services have been privatized with user fees widely introduced. The anti-social offensive includes a shift of control of national wealth from public institutions of the state to direct control by the most powerful private interests. This trend is evident in the data from the inequality report which shows the concentration of social wealth as private wealth and the concentration of that private wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer individuals. Since 1980, a trend has emerged to privatize social wealth held by the state as public assets or by vastly increasing the public debt, which effectively privatizes publicly held wealth.

It is worth noting also that the inequality report uses the term "capital" to denote all forms of social wealth even when it is not being used to purchase or employ the working class to produce new value. This deviates from the scientific definition that capital is a relation, not a thing. It is a social class relation or dialectic between those who own and control social wealth and the working class. In the inequality report, the term capital is used to suggest social wealth can expand without engaging the working class in work. This false logic in fact extols a myth that financial speculation somehow creates value. It covers up the parasitism and decay of imperialism, which is moribund. Its desperation to overcome its own crises leads to occupations, war and corrupt state-organized pay-the-rich schemes. The imperialists have organized stock and commodities exchanges and Ponzi plots to fleece the people and even fellow imperialists of already produced value.

The Need to Build the New

By not starting with the relations between humans and humans and humans and nature and what they reveal, the way forward is obscured. The working people are reduced to a category called the 99 per cent. They are left with the idea that they should plead with the one per cent to change their stripes and, for the good of humanity, stop this downward slide and adopt progressive policies which re-establish equilibrium in society.

The working class does not need more reports describing the world and its obvious inequality. Those who enjoy class privileges and stomp on the rights of the working people and sovereign nations love to describe the crises. They describe how bad the situation of the people has become. Detailed accounts and photographs are made commonplace in what is called news coverage of  people drowning, committing suicide and suffering the violence which has become their lives. Those in positions of power in governments and monopoly-owned media say these crises, not the rule of the imperialists, threaten human existence. The more they indulge themselves, the more desperate they become because they cannot in fact control the massive human productive powers which have become a force of nature itself.

The main feature of the current conditions the inequality report keeps hidden is that today cartels and coalitions operate everything, clashing as they collude and contend to dominate by means of force to bring everything under their control. Threats and bullying are also forms of the use of force. These cartels and coalitions of private interests exercise enormous power and class privilege over the economic, political, social and cultural affairs of the world, including the crucial issues of war and peace and how society spends the value workers produce.

But the impression that relations can be made through the use of force is delusion. Stability is provided by the vigorous fight the working people wage for a greater claim on the value they produce and for the democratic renewal of the political process for people's empowerment. This requires practical measures against the concentration of social wealth in fewer hands which bring into being forms that are consistent with the new historical basis. These forms unite everyone concerned to fight for their rights within the context of fighting for the rights of all so as to open society's path to progress on a modern basis.

Extracts and Graphs from the Inequality Report

Figure E8

From the executive summary of the inequality report this figure details the fall in the share of the top 1 per cent until around 1980. 

Figure 2.1.1a

The report reads, "Top 10 per cent income shares across the world, 1980–2016: Rising inequality almost everywhere, but at different speeds. In 2016, 47 per cent of national income was received by the top 10 per cent in U.S.-Canada, compared to 34 per cent in 1980."

E3 from executive summary

Top 1 per cent vs. Bottom 50 per cent national income shares in the U.S., 1980–2016 


Figure 2.1.1e

Bottom 50 per cent income shares across the world, 1980–2016

Table 2.2.1

Table 2.2.1 shows that net foreign income in North America amounts to 0.9 per cent of its GDP (which corresponds to an extra 610 ($670) received by the average North American adult from the rest of the world. Meanwhile, Japan's net foreign income is equal to 3.5 per cent of its GDP (corresponding to 1,460 euros per year and per adult). Net foreign income within the European Union is slightly negative when measured at PPP values (Table 2.2.1) and very slightly positive when measured at market exchange rate values (Table 2.2.2). This figure in fact hides strong disparities within the European Union. France and Germany have strongly positive net foreign income (2 to 3 per cent of their GDP), while Ireland and the United Kingdom have negative net foreign incomes (this is largely due to the financial services and foreign companies established there). On the other hand, Latin America annually pays 2.4 per cent of its GDP to the rest of the world. Interestingly, China has a negative net foreign income. It pays close to 0.7 per cent of its GDP to foreign countries, reflecting the fact that the return it receives on its foreign portfolio is lower than the return received by foreign investments in China."

Table 2.2.2

Figure 2.3.5

Top 1 per cent national income share in Russia, China and India 1900–2015

Figure 3.1.3:

"The rise of private capital and the fall of public capital in rich countries, 1970-2016"

The report says, "From Figure 3.1.3 it quickly becomes clear that the recent upward trend in national wealth-to-income ratios has exclusively been the result of private wealth accumulation. Indeed, in the UK and the United States, national wealth consists entirely of private wealth, as net public wealth has become negative (that is, public assets are now below public debt). France, Japan, and Germany have also experienced a significant decline in public wealth, which is now worth just about 10-20 per cent of national income according to official estimates -- that is, a very tiny fraction of total national wealth. The domination of private wealth in national wealth represents a marked change from the situation which prevailed in the 1970s, when net public wealth was typically between 50 per cent and 100 per cent of national income in most developed countries (and over 100 per cent in Germany). Today, with either small or negative net public wealth, the governments of developed countries are arguably limited in their ability to intervene in the economy, redistribute income, and mitigate rising inequality."

Figure 3.1.5

"The decline of public capital, 1970-2016. The share of public wealth in national wealth in rich countries, 1978-2015"

"The dominance of private wealth over public wealth within countries is further highlighted by their relative shares in national wealth. As depicted by Figure 3.1.5, all observed countries (with the exception of Norway) have seen a decline in the value of public property relative to private property. In the late 1970s, the share of net public wealth in net national wealth was positive and substantial in all developed countries: it was as large as 25 per cent in countries including Germany and Britain, and 15 per cent in Japan, France, and the United States. By 2016, the share of public wealth has become negative in Britain and the United States, and is only marginally positive in Japan, Germany and France. In China, the share of public wealth was as large as 70 per cent in 1978, and seems to have stabilized around 30 per cent since 2008 -- a level that is somewhat larger (but not incomparable) to that observed in Western countries during the mixed-economy period of the 1950s–1970s."

Figure 3.3.3

"The share of public wealth in national wealth in former communist and rich countries, 1980-2015: The decline of public property"

For complete report on world inequality click here.

Haut de



Website:  www.cpcml.ca   Email:  editor@cpcml.ca