Category Archives: Wealth

Chart of the day II: Who owns America’s wealth?


From the Harvard Gazette:

One measure of American inequality is the percentage of the nation’s overall wealth owned by different parts of the population. The graphic above shows that the richest 20 percent of the country owns 88.9 percent of the nation’s wealth, while the bottom 40 percent owes more than it owns. Graphic by Judy Blomquist/Harvard Staff

One measure of American inequality is the percentage of the nation’s overall wealth owned by different parts of the population. The graphic above shows that the richest 20 percent of the country owns 88.9 percent of the nation’s wealth, while the bottom 40 percent owes more than it owns. Graphic by Judy Blomquist/Harvard Staff

Chart of the day: One tax remains constant


Gues which one?

From the U.S. Census Bureau [PDF]:

Quarterly Summary of State and Local Government Tax Revenue for

Climate change: Penalizing those least responsible


While it’s the industrialized nations hat produce the most emissions of greenhouse gases, it’s the poorer nations and other low-emissions countries that will bear the biggest cost as climate change accelerates, according to a new scientific study, as exemplified in these maps:

(a) Climate change equity for 2010. (b) Climate change equity for 2030. Countries with emissions in the highest quintile and vulnerability in the lowest quintile are shown in dark red (the climate free riders), and those countries with emissions in the lowest quintile and vulnerability in the highest quintile are shown in dark green (the climate forced riders). Intermediate levels of equity are shown in graduating colours, with countries in yellow producing GHG emissions concomitant with their vulnerability to the resulting climate change. Data deficient countries are shown as grey. Maps generated using ESRI ArcGIS.

(a) Climate change equity for 2010. (b) Climate change equity for 2030. Countries with emissions in the highest quintile and vulnerability in the lowest quintile are shown in dark red (the climate free riders), and those countries with emissions in the lowest quintile and vulnerability in the highest quintile are shown in dark green (the climate forced riders). Intermediate levels of equity are shown in graduating colours, with countries in yellow producing GHG emissions concomitant with their vulnerability to the resulting climate change. Data deficient countries are shown as grey. Maps generated using ESRI ArcGIS.

Details from the Wildlife Conservation Society:

SECOND HAND SMOKE: Nations That Produce Fewer Greenhouse Gases Most Vulnerable to Climate Change, Study Says

  • Conversely, nations that produce most greenhouse gases less vulnerable
  • Study shows “enormous global inequality” between emitters versus impacted nations
  • Countries like U.S., Canada, Russia, and China are climate “free riders,” which dis-incentivizes mitigating their emissions
  • Problem will worsen in coming decades

A new study by University of Queensland and WCS shows a dramatic global mismatch between nations producing the most greenhouse gases and the ones most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

The study shows that the highest emitting countries are ironically the least vulnerable to climate change effects such as increased frequency of natural disasters, changing habitats, human health impacts, and industry stress.

Those countries emitting the least amount of greenhouse gases are most vulnerable.

The majority of the most vulnerable countries are African and Small Island States. These countries are exposed to serious environmental change such as oceanic inundation or desertification. They are also generally the least developed nations, having few resources available to cope with these issues.

“There is an enormous global inequality in which those countries most responsible for causing climate change are the least vulnerable to its effects,” said lead author Glenn Althor of University of Queensland.  “It is time that this persistent and worsening climate inequity is resolved, and for the largest emitting countries to act.”

“This is like a non-smoker getting cancer from second-hand smoke, while the heavy smokers continue to puff away. Essentially we are calling for the smokers to pay for the health care of the non-smokers they are directly harming,” said co-author James Watson of University of Queensland and WCS.

The study found that 20 of the 36 highest emitting countries – including the U.S. Canada, Australia, China, and much of Western Europe – were least vulnerable.  Eleven of the 17 countries with low to moderate emissions were most vulnerable to climate change. Most were found in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.  The authors say the finding acts as a disincentive for high-emitting “free-rider” countries to mitigate their emissions.

The number of acutely vulnerable countries will worsen by 2030 say the authors as climate change related pressures such as droughts, floods, biodiversity loss and disease mount.

“The recent Paris agreement was a significant step forward in global climate negotiations” said study co-author Richard Fuller.  “There now needs to be meaningful mobilization of these policies, to achieve national emissions reductions while helping the most vulnerable countries adapt to climate change”.

The study appears today in the journal Scientific Reports [and though it’s from Nature, there’s no paywallesnl].

Cancer: Another reason to loathe the TPP


The Trans-Pacific Partnership, the multinational Pacific Rim trading pact, negotiated in secret under the sway of corporate lobbyists and signed today in New Zealand, must be approved by Congress in order to take effect.

Hillary Clinton loves it, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren  don’t.

There are many reasons to loathe the TPP, including its secret tribunal capable of fining nations huge sums for enacting environmental, public health, and other barriers to protect citizens from unalloyed corporate rapacity.

Now comes another good reason, cancer.

From RT’s The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann:

What Today’s TPP Signing Means

Program notes:

Melinda St. Louis, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch & Zahara Heckscher, Writer/Educator/Social Justice Advocate join Thom. Representatives from 12 countries are gathering in the world’s most remote capital to finally sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership. What effect will this have on the effort to block the deal here in the US?

Chart of the day III: Chinese market collapses


From the New York Times, evidence that the Collapse of 2016 is already underway, with massive amounts of notional wealth already destroyed [click on the image to enlarge]:

BLOG China

The painful slow death of the liberal church


In this, the latest episode in his series for teleSUR English, Pulitzer prize winning journalist and Harvard Divinity School graduate Chris Hedges joins two graduate students of Union Theological Seminary to discuss the plight of the liberal Christian church in the United States.

As conservative — even radically conservative — Christian denominations surge in membership and their seminaries thrive, the schools which turned out the liberal ministers who served as bulwarks of the civil rights movement are faced with declining enrollments.

As Michael Vanacore and Edward Escalon recount, Union is currently center of a storm of controversy as the school entertains plans to build a luxury condominium tower as a way to fund repair of is decaying campus.

The tragedy is that development of the project would go a long way toward gentrifying Manhattan’s Morningside Heights, a neighborhood largely inhabited be people of color.

It’s a fascinating discussion.

From the Real News Network:

Days of Revolt: The Suicide of the Liberal Church

Program notes:

In this episode of teleSUR’s Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges speaks with two Union Theological Seminary student-activists about their fight against the school’s plans to sell property to luxury condo developers and further gentrify Harlem.

As for esnl, we’re of the atheist persuasion. That said, we don’t espouse to the creed of the so-called New Atheists, folks who are as evangelical about their beliefs that they remind us of Jehovah’s witnesses.

We’ve believed, in turn, in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Christianity again, before arriving at our present position.

There are many times in our life when we’ve been helped by religious folks, including the months after we forced out of our parental home for refusing induction into the army during the Vietnam War, when we were given a place to live in the homes of a Quaker family and later a religiously Jewish family.

It was our father’s mother who led the integration of her Presbyterian church in Abilene, Kansas, early in the last century, forcing the overtly racist minister to back down when she threatened to lead her family and friends in an exodus from the church.

The resurgence of fundamentalist Christianity, often tinged with racism and bigotry against all whose lives differ from their narrowly prescribed beliefs and proscribed conduct, is fully as disturbing as the soaring wealth of the one percent.

The fusion of two tendencies in today’s political landscape is troubling indeed.

Borrowing while black: Banksters in action


Just having a name that sounds like the applicant is African American will cost the would-be borrower a 71 percent reduction on the lender’s credit score, according to a new study.

From teleSUR English:

Mortgage lenders across the United States discriminate against African-Americans clients, according to a new study.

In an industry where credit scores are meant to determine eligibility, race was half as much a determining factor of the lender’s response to a loan request.

The study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Urban Economics, emailed over 5,000 Mortgage Loan Originators—the first point of contact that can offer and negotiate loans—with white-sounding and Black-sounding names.

Differences in the initial responses were significant enough to note consistent discrepancies: in the rate, length, content, tone and timing of the responses. The African American-sounding clients were repeatedly treated more poorly. On the whole, the treatment amounted to about 71 percent lower credit score.

More from the Marquette University College of Business Administration:

A Marquette University study forthcoming in the Journal of Urban Economics has found that African-Americans seeking home loans are discriminated against by mortgage lenders at the earliest stages of the application process.

According to Dr. Andrew Hanson, associate professor of economics and the study’s lead author, black Americans are far more likely than white Americans to be ignored by mortgage loan originators.

Hanson pointed out that allegations of discriminatory lending practices during the 2004-08 housing boom resulted in the two largest cash settlements ever between mortgage lenders and the Department of Justice — $335 million from Bank of America’s Countrywide group and $175 million from Wells Fargo. The complaints alleged that these institutions steered equally qualified minority applicants into higher interest (sub-prime) loans and charged higher fees than for white borrowers.

“While some observers may chalk the root cause of discrimination during the boom to an unusual housing and lending market, that may not necessarily be the case, as our research points out,” Hanson said.

In the three-year study, Hanson and his collaborators tested for racial discrimination by mortgage lenders using what’s known as a correspondence experiment approach. The team sent identical email inquiries to lenders, with one primary difference — the name of the potential borrower.

“We used names that are highly likely to be associated with either African-Americans or white Americans to see if their inquiries were treated differently by lenders,” Hanson said.

After analyzing the data from more than 10,000 emails, Hanson found net discrimination by 1.8 percent of lenders through non-response. The study also showed that lenders offer more details about loans and are more likely to send follow-up correspondence to whites.

“Looking just at the response rates of mortgage loan originators, the effect of being African-American is equivalent to the effect of having a credit score that is 71 points lower,” Hanson noted.