Sunday 19 July 2015.
Dear Mr Cameron,
In time honoured tradition millions of workers will today have gone to work in order to ‘make a living’. Of course, if they are on minimum wage, a living is the very thing they will not make. However, what they all have in common is that they will create goods and services and wealth, not only the wealth that keeps businesses afloat and pays the wages but wealth in excess which will be taken by the business owners and shareholders to increase their personal wealth gathered from the workers who are ‘profit creators’, as George Lakoff calls them in ‘Don’t think of an Elephant’.
A chap called Thomas Piketty noticed that there was an ever widening and accelerating gap between the profit creators and the ultra rich profit takers, few more so than the famous Walton family, owners of Walmart and the wealthiest family in the US. Piketty decided to study wealth and discovered there were two kinds of wealth, Productive Wealth – generated by work which we know as GDP and Reinvestment Wealth – generated by returns on investments over and over again and which grows exponentially.
Productive Wealth is that wealth which is distributed and recirculated over most of the population and Reinvestment Wealth is held by the very wealthy and produces ever increasing gains for them.
What Piketty discovered was that throughout history, including during the Industrial Revolution, Reinvestment Wealth was far, far greater than Productive Wealth, with a period of exception during the two world wars, including the great depression, up until the 80’s when Thatcher and Reagan began to cut taxes for the wealthy and attacked the unions and wages and enabled Reinvestment Wealth to blossom again giving rise to the extreme wealth inequality we see today. In the US in 1976 the top 1% had 19.9% of the wealth, in 2010 they had 35.4% and today Britain is the most unequal country in Europe.
It is hardly surprising, then, that today’s workers are, in terms of wealth, an incidental, almost an irrelevance, to be used and abused at will merely for their productiveness, driven by wages that cannot be lived on, and used as stock to produce the stuff of life with no shred of care or concern for their well being. Wealth has become the deciding factor of life, and it is little wonder that the poorest people are being abandoned, along with sick and disabled people, as useless eaters by you servants of the City of London and global corporate conglomerates.