The rich list of shame
Here is the 2013 list of those who are publicly counted as the wealthiest in the world. These 1,426 people (and families) are responsible for a level of inequality no civilisation before ours has seen, they are the land grabbers and the glib champions of ‘reform and austerity’ that have over the last ten years impoverished tens of millions.
They sell guns and oil, and lend money at usurious rates. Their companies make rubbish electronics, pollute streams and rivers, leave toxic smears across the landscape, pay less than minimum wages to their workers, dodge labour law, bribe officials wherever they do business, write rubbish software, run third rate banks that make pawnshops look good.
They are responsible for overfishing, for mountaintop removal, for deforestation, for the GM crop and GM food that they turn into processed snacks that make us sick, to seek false cures in the vulpine hospitals they run so that their pharmaceuticals can be sold and ingested to further add to our cancerous woes. They are responsible for the insanity of over-consumption, their factories are assistants of climate change, their sales armies watch our every move, they want to buy our world though it is not for sale.
Not on this list: the many more whose personal fortunes may range from US$100 million to many billions but whose balance sheets are off limits to the maintainers of wealth indexes. Also not on this list: the thousands upon thousands of politicians great and small, in every single country and territory of the world, whose careers have in one way or another been shaped, influenced or otherwise fashioned by the ambitions of those on this list and those off it, but who have themselves amassed wealth so far beyond the civil servant’s (and public servant’s) wage as to be as good as incalculable, and who are partners with these giddy rich barons in every sordid capitalist enterprise that is dedicated to the aggrandisement of the very few at the grimy and toiling expense of the many.
This is the list that ought to shame our civilisation.