Mind the Gap – A Report on Inequality

A heavier post than my usual but since watching this documentary on TV a couple of months ago it has been playing on my mind so I thought I would share it.  The statistics here speak for themselves and while I doubt me sharing it makes a scrap of difference in the world (!) it is something that concerns me, concerns everyone. This documentary investigates the new working poor.

Most of us realise that world governments are doing things wrong and we, the little people, are suffering for it. New Zealand is a small country with a population of only 4 million, but still we have followed the examples of bigger countries (America, England) to our detriment and our statistics echo what is going on elsewhere.

The video here, Mind the Gap http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__2EdGFdgTA is 45 minutes long and I am not really expecting anyone to watch it however these are a few statistics I have written down from it.

In 1984 our government changed from neo-liberalism, following America and England. They changed from a focus on social policies, brought in after the war, to business and industry… encouraging consumerism. They hoped by providing tax breaks to wealthy business owners this would have a “trickle down effect” providing better business, more jobs.

In 1953 there was a large working class in this country, a medium sized pool of medium class, a small group of rich. Today there is a large percentage of people living in poverty, a large group of what we call the new “working poor” paying large taxes to support those living in poverty, a distinct group of wealthy.

Today the top 10 % of the population own over 1/2 of the country’s wealth.

Detected social welfare fraud last year – $23 million and 800 people were prosecuted. Detected tax evasion (business, corporate) – $1 billion and 50 people were prosecuted. Undetected tax fraud is thought to be $5 billion. There is a much higher rate of welfare defrauders going to jail than those who rip off their investors.

Our government pays $1.2 billion in accommodation supplements to the poor and another $2 billion in their Working For Families scheme to supplement the low working wage or to support the unemployed.

Food costs have risen 217% in 30 years while the dollar is buying 2/3rds less.

The bigger the inequality in a country between rich and poor the higher the rates of crime, disease, infant mortality, mental illness, incarceration rates and teenage pregnancies and there are shorter life expectancy rates. Governments/taxpayers pay the costs for all this, for how long is this sustainable to support the people AFTER they have fallen off a cliff?

screw-the-poor

Have any of you seen Kid President. He’s a little American kid who has alot to say, he’s funny (loud!) but he’s also serious. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFZGyUZ9YrM. In this video he discusses internet use – 14 million human beings follow Miley Cyrus on Twitter – on purpose! 60 million photos are uploaded on the internet each day, many of them are “selfies” or photos of what people are eating. People spend $600, 000 a day on Candy Crush!! His message in this, it’s Socktober, donate a pair of socks to a homeless person, or a tin of food, donate to a shelter. 600,000 people are homeless in America, including kids.

We can walk past the homeless with averted eyes pretending we didn’t see them, or we can help. We can keep voting the way we vote out of habit or we can start voting with a social conscience, can’t we? WE are the future, our children are the future and right now the future isn’t looking great for too many. Where are we going to be in 10 – 20 years time if WE don’t bring in change …….and maybe there is something in that saying “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.

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23 thoughts on “Mind the Gap – A Report on Inequality

    • I’m just aware to many it may well be considered too “heavy” to want to read here 🙂 It’s something I feel really strongly about and yes, I do believe we need to be more aware collectively. Thank you Eric, and I love your blog by the way, I get alot out of it. 🙂

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  1. I applaud you posting your thoughts – but must add this: never for one moment think you cannot make a difference. Every time someone stands up and adds their voice, makes a decision and cares for their fellow human beings a massive difference is made. Do you know the ‘hundredth monkey’ story? Factual evidence of how something unseen makes it possible for a community to make a quantum leap forward. Keep caring, keep questioning, keep believing [underlined] that it is possible to make a difference – and you will help to create a better world for your children. It’s not ‘heavy’ – it is called love and caring and passion – all really good human emotions! You go girl!! 🙂

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    • THANKS Pauline 🙂 Do you know I have had much of this in my drafts folder for 2 months and every week have wondered whether to post it or not. We choose what to show others of ourselves and sometimes doubt people really want to hear some of it 🙂 🙂 Thanks for your comments and yes, I know the “hundredth monkey” story, that’s sort of what I’m hoping for 🙂 x

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      • I understand – I’ve posted a couple of deeply personal posts on my blog – but I think that those folk who don’t like what i posted probably wouldn’t be my friends in real life, so it’s good to get that sorted in the blog-o-sphere as well 🙂 And I think it is really important that we stand up and be counted for whatever we believe in. Look at all the great comments you got!

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      • Yes, true 🙂 There’s always an ‘unfollow’ button for those who choose… but while heavy, certainly nothing here to offend. Just my own insecurities about where to put myself – most I know in my private life don’t particularly want to have conversations about this sort of thing!

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  2. That’s what a personal blog is for, to blow your trumpet and let it out to your dear constant readers. If they don’t like it, they won’t read it. Simple. We ALL need to hear this warning. Big business owns our derierres and is making sure that we are forever indebted to them and their business practices. Patents are being bought up…laws set into motion to prosecute anyone who dares to go against the flow (the flow being profits directly into the coffers of the uber rich) and it’s all being supported by governing parties who are owned and paid for by the wealthy. Mr Abbott (our own new Prime Minister) is just Gena Reinhart’s puppet. Sad to think that we have lost our working class roots that made Australia the laconic “fair” system that it once was and suddenly the government here is postulating privatising HECS debts for students and making students completely liable for the costs of their higher education…education for the rich (which, strangely enough, the liberal reigning government party are true representitives of 😉 ). Self serving, selfish and detrimental to the environment and our continued existance. We all need to remember that we are NOT helpless slaves and that we all have a vote along with the right to choose where our money flows (at the moment…but not for too much longer). We need to make sure that we do a bit of research into where we put our money and what we choose to do with it…that’s if we HAVE money in the first place. You are absolutely right about the poor being overrepresented now. Sad, but there is always hope 🙂

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    • Yep, I guess so 🙂 I did decide I should be able to put what I like on my own blog and will probably write more of this in the future, you are right people don’t need to read it….if it’s important to me I should just express it.

      I agree with all you say here and we are not helpless slaves, every dollar we spend (yes, if we have any to spend), the decisions we make, all contribute to a far bigger picture.

      I prefer the Green Party here. There votes have grown from 2% to 14% over the years, minor parties do grow with support and many have far better policies than main parties. It takes time but better to be working toward a better future for all than retaining the status quo for fear of changing our votes.

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  3. Mom says:

    Thank you for such excellent information. I am from Canada. I am on the Board of Directors of my Credit Union(we are the 3rd largest Credit Union in Ontario). Today your words have really made a difference!!! I belong to the Global Women’s Leadership Network(part of the World Credit Union). We are a large group of Credit Union women and men working in the industry or serving on Boards of Directors who strive for change around the world! I will be sharing your article with them! Your words will Inspire change around the world! All this happened because of your Lemonade recipe being shared by the Garden Pantry (I get it on Facebook). Our next World Credit Union Conference is scheduled to be held next July in Australia near your corner of the world(2500 delegates/leaders in their communities). Just remember one thing every little word written or spoken does make a difference! Sharing with people does lead to change!

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    • You are kidding?!! 🙂 🙂

      Well, that’s the best I could’ve possibly hoped for isn’t it? 🙂 Thank you so much for your comments and taking the time to read it. For once I am speechless lol.

      I decided last night to start another blog on poverty in our countries because it was nice to finally get this written down and expressed, so I thank you for you interest. Good on YOU for making a difference and being out there making a change. Awesome, thanks x

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  4. Well done. There is much truth in the old saying “The Pen is Mightier than the sword”. Sure we don’t much hand write anything these days but your blog, and mine, and everybody who has a blog can be a conduit for change in the world. We must also be aware of misinformation that is coming at us from all sides. Be the truth in your part of the world and know you are making a difference 😀

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  5. Express yourself, you do it well, your thoughts are valid, I like what I read and will read more if you write it like this. I cannot comment any more meaningfully than to say-I like what you had to say and feel that I wish I had said it.

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