Tag Archives: Blog Action Day

The Frightening Decline of Distribution of Wealth

Today is Blog Action Day, an annual tradition since 2008, and this year’s theme is inequality. It’s hashtags are #BAD2014 #Blogaction14, #Inequality, #Oct16. 

It’s scary to me that we don’t all take better distribution of wealth as automatically important, and self evident. I remember being a kid, in the 1950s and 1960s, when everybody I knew, everybody in the mainstream news media, and everybody anybody talked to, assumed that concentration of wealth in just a few hands was a symptom of an underdeveloped, third-world economy. We who lived in the United States, we all agreed, were blessed with a growing middle class. The better distribution of wealth was a sign of a strong economy and an enlightened society. Or so we assumed. 

Flash forward 50 years or so, and (OMG and WTF) we’re riding on several decades of increasing concentration of wealth, both in the U.S. and worldwide. What’s wrong with this picture?  

I’m struggling as I write this for the proper adjectives for the three-minute video embedded here. Startling? Disturbing? Frightening? Extremely important? I’m not sure. All of those words apply. Please take the three minutes, and just watch. (And, by the way, click here for the YouTube source if you don’t see it on the page here.)

On Cities, Food, History, and Future

In honor of Blog Action Day, the video here is a 15-minute TED talk by Carolyn Steel, author and architect. Among the startling things she says here:

  • We lose about 47 million acres of rainforest every year. And at the same time, we lose about 50 million acres of farm land to salinization and erosion.
  • Half the food produced in the USA is thrown away.
  • A billion of us are obese while another billion starve.
  • 80% of global trade in food is controlled by five corporations.

How did we get here, and what are we going to do about it? It’s a short talk, but she tries to answer the first question and ask the second. It’s fascinating.

If you can’t see the video here, you can click here to go to the original on TED.com