Only 80 people
Today, we stand at a dangerous precipice. About 80 people have the same amount of wealth as the bottom 3.5 billion people combined — $1.9 trillion.
That’s a staggering gap in equity.
Unlike the myth of “job creators” and “hard work,” these 80 people can never match the productivity and ingenuity of 3.5 billion. Unfortunately, the system of global income and wealth inequality doesn’t allow for more social distribution.
We need a Robin Hood
There’s a legendary hero who attempted to change these economic circumstances: Robin Hood. Whether man or myth, he was a rebel. The character is famous for taking from the rich to give to the poor.
He forcefully redistributed wealth through illegal, anarchic action in a folklore landscape that was divided and unequal. Simply put, he noticed injustices and took individual action to change the system of wealth inequality.
Levying a global wealth tax? Nearly impossible.
In Thomas Piketty’s 700-page tome, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, he acknowledges deep economic patterns of global wealth inequality. In no uncertain terms, Piketty suggests we are approaching another Gilded Age.
His major proposal is a global net worth tax to reassert some amount of economic equality (among other suggestions). In a way, this could be a heroic Robin Hood-like effort to help the planet’s people — not just a select few.
A global net worth tax might not be possible. Too many countries, wealthy people, and corrupt states would prevent it from happening. But there’s something else that’s growing in popular support: the Robin Hood tax.
The Robin Hood Tax could work
This cleverly named tax is supported by around over 350 economists and 50 charities including Greenpeace, Christian Aid, Comic Relief, Oxfam, One, Save the Children, The Salvation Army, and Unicef. Ultimately, this tax would be levied on banking and financial transactions that are traditionally made by the wealthiest 1%: those in the financial industry.
Potentially, taxes on financial instruments and industry in general could raise billions of dollars in revenue. The “Financial Transaction Tax (FFT)” at the heart of the Robin Hood tax could raise about 380 billion dollars per year.
These taxes would be sorely received by the wealthiest classes, but it would create a base and middle class for the majority. This could change lives.
Now, we just need to find a politician that’ll put on some green tights.