Category Archives: Inequality, poverty and hunger

Harm is not the only cause of inequality, poverty and hunger, but it is important. Harm is a, very possibly the, major cause of inequality. All types of exploitation tend to shift income from the many to the few, including monopoly and oligopoly profits; corruption, rent seeking and other actions by governments, and discrimination of all types and “imperialistic” relations between rich countries and poor, now and in the past.  Inequality due to exploitation is not brought out very far in discussions of inequality, as exploitation/appropriation is not widely understood.  (See Understanding Exploitation for a fuller discussion of types of exploitation and their integration into the political-economic system.) As the people that control the social system use their power to obtain income for themselves, this leaves less, usually substantially less, for others, and those at the bottom typically face poverty and hunger. (Also see How ordinary people in developing countries are harmed by the political-economic system.)

Human Development Report 2019 Credit: UNDP

Human Development Report: new inequalities must be addressed

United Nations Development Program December 9, 2019. The demonstrations sweeping across the world today signal that, despite unprecedented progress against poverty, hunger and disease, many societies are not working as they should.

The connecting thread, argues a new report from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), is inequality.“Different triggers are bringing people onto the streets — the cost of a train ticket, the price of petrol, demands for political freedoms, the pursuit of fairness and justice. This is the new face of inequality, and as this Human Development Report sets out, inequality isnot beyond solutions,” says UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner.

The 2019 Human Development Report (HDR), entitled “Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: inequalities in human development in the 21st Century,” says that just as the gap in basic living standards is narrowing for millions of people, the necessities to thrive have evolved.

A new generation of inequalities is opening up, around education, and around technology and climate change — two seismic shifts that, unchecked, could trigger a ‘new great divergence’ in society of the kind not seen since the Industrial Revolution, according to the report. In countries with very high human development, for example, subscriptions to fixed broadband are growing 15 times faster and the proportion of adults with tertiary education is growing more than six times faster than in countries with low human development.

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US inequality, poverty, hunger 2019

Many renters who face eviction owe less than $600. Can Washington do something to help them? A growing number of politicians think so. Emily Badger New York Times December 12, 2019

Watch 4 decades of inequality drive American cities apart. The biggest metropolitan areas are now the most unequal. Emily Badger and Kevin Quealy New York Times December 2, 2019

Income inequality in America is the highest it has been since the Census started tracking it, data shows Taylor Telford Washington Post September 26, 2019

More Americans go without health coverage despite a strong economy, Census Bureau finds Amy Goldstein and Heather Long Washington Post September 10, 2019

Photo: Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange.

Limit corporate stock buybacks

Limit corporate stock buybacks Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Bernie Sanders New York Times February 3, 2019
“…Companies, rather than investing in ways to make their businesses more resilient or their workers more productive, have been dedicating ever larger shares of their profits to dividends and corporate share repurchases. When a company purchases its own stock back, it reduces the number of publicly traded shares, boosting the value of the stock to the benefit of shareholders and corporate leadership. Between 2008 and 2017, 466 of the S&P 500 companies spent around $4 trillion on stock buybacks, equal to 53 percent of profits. An additional 40 percent of corporate profits went to dividends. When more than 90 percent of corporate profits go to buybacks and dividends, there is reason to be concerned.”

Photo: Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange. Credit The Timeless Gentleman

Suffering in South Sudan: hunger, conflict, refugees, child soldiers

‘Life is miserable’: Even when there’s food in South Sudan, many can’t afford it Carolyn Thompson Washington Post November 18, 2018

Photo: Thousand children in South Sudan have routinely been kidnapped and then forced to fight…#southsudan pic.twitter.com/BZdhQSQwuR  –Nino Fezza (@nfcinereporter) November 18, 2018

Photo: A displaced family from near the front lines that has been living in front of a Sana school since August. Credit: Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

War causing famine in Yemen

Your tax dollars help starve children Nicholas Kristof New York Times December 9, 2018

How the war in Yemen became a bloody stalemate—and the worst humanitarian crisis in the world Robert F. Worth New York Times November 5, 2018

Photo: A displaced family from near the front lines that has been living in front of a Sana school since August. Credit: Lynsey Addario for The New York Times