Over four years ago, a video entitled Wealth Inequality in America was posted on YouTube. Since November 2012 the video has generated almost 20 million views.
At the inception the narrator describes how a chart by a Harvard business professor and economist got stuck in their mind. Apparently, the economist asked more than 5,000 Americans how wealth was divided in the United States based on five groups, “top, bottom and middle three 20% groups.” The first sketch discussed is the “Think” scenario where the top 20% was thought to control over 55% of the nation’s wealth. When asked what the “Ideal” distribution should be, 92% of participants desired a more “equitable” situation where the middle three groups control approximately 60% of the nation’s wealth and the top 20% control about 30%. The next chart shows that the “reality compared to . . . perception” was much greater than the participants in the study were aware. The “Actual” chart shows the top 20% control of about 85% of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 40% are barely visible in the chart whereas the top 1% control of over 70% of the nation’s wealth.
The remainder of the video further demonstrates the inequality of the “Ideal” versus “Think” versus “Actual” scenarios and focuses on the proverbial “1%” that controls over 40% of the nation’s wealth. While the video was made during the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement, it does raise an important point. Is the present economic system “fair?” Or, is it rigged towards the advantage of the 1%’ers. Or is it somewhere in-between? If so, what are your thoughts and what, if anything, should be done to rectify the situation?