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The 1% and the others

article by Elisabeth and Cathy

Some time ago, we read that 1% of the world population – i.e. 70,000,000 persons– owned more than 50% of the world’s wealth – namely $3,800,000,000,000. This incredible piece of information made us react. So we would like to share our thoughts and feelings with you.

On their own those great numbers do not mean very much to us but we find that they reflect how deep the gap between them and us is. It seems very unfair  that many people around the world do not have enough - and sometimes even nothing - to eat , living in slums of the most wretched nature, while only a few people are made of money. We also find it revolting when they proudly show off their wealth: mansions, cars, yachts, sumptuous parties, etc…

Their misuse of money has bad consequences on the rest of humanity and our planet itself. Here are some examples:

Hunger. Multinational companies buy large pieces of land in Africa or South America to produce palm-oil or to grow cereals. Consequently, the native peasants thus deprived of their allotments have nothing to farm anymore.

Unemployment. Because of relocation of industries in search of cheap labour, a lot of people have been losing their jobs. Moreover, the companies give most of their profits to the shareholders, so they have to fire a lot of their employees.

Working conditions. Because they have no work, people of the Third World countries are willing to work in any conditions: 

One of life’s little ironies: those people work to earn their livings but they lose their lives instead! 

Democracy.  Multinational companies do not pay any taxes in the countries where their factories are located. Their headquarters and subsidiaries have tax residencies in tax havens such as Jersey, Guernsey (the so-called Channel Islands), Caiman Islands, etc…. Because of that flight of capital and lack of money all the western European governments have to tax middle-class people more and more - one day they might disappear.

The French welfare State is narrowing every day. If inequalities have decreased between 1913 and 1970 they have been increasing since then. It seems that we are now in the same situation as before 1789 when aristocrats paid no taxes. So Democracy is threatened and could be destroyed later on.           

Pollution.  Forests are decreasing. Trees are replaced by palm-trees to produce pal-oil which is used to make bio-fuels. As a result, the Amazonian populations are evicted from the places they are settled in.

Fortunately some billionaires have redistributed  a part of their money. They have created humanitarian and cultural foundations, for example:

Those wealthy people however have been employing a lot of people but less than before, as previously explained.

While working on this topic, some additional questions arose and we would like to submit them to you

We did not react against people who have become wealthy thanks to their own skills or because they have legally come into an inheritance. But we did not agree either on money accumulated thanks to speculation or on laundered money (accumulated thanks to drug, arms, trafficking of children and women).


wealth all of your money and property   70,000,000 seventy millions million
i.e:  that is to say (abbreviation from Latin ”id est”)   a slum
a house or a building which is not fit to be lived in

of inferior or very bad quality or status   to be made of money to have plenty of money
misusing money

using money wrongly   an allotment a plot of land rented by a peasant for growing vegetables or plants, etc.
to relocate

to move to a new place and establish one’s business there   shareholders of a company
people who own of some parts of a company’s capital
to collapse

to fall down very suddenly   the chief executive of a company the head of this company
the headquarters of a company
the place where the management center of a company is located   a subsidiary a company controlled by another holding company
a tax-haven a place where companies are registered but pay reduced taxes   a welfare state a system under which the state protects the health and well-being of its citizens by providing grants, pensions and other benefits
to narrow to become smaller and smaller   bio-fuels are fuels obtained directly from living matter
a scholarship a sum of money given to support a student’s education   to be capped to be limited
parts of  company’s capital   a yield an amount or a result produced . Shares produce dividends (benefits)
compulsory obligatory   laundered money illegally obtained money, which has been transferred into 'legal' use

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revised : 19-may / published : 19-may / created : 27-april-2015

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