Daily Archives: January 13, 2017

After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.

The numbers, based on surveys conducted over the past 35 years, offer some of the most detailed publicly available comparisons for different income groups in different countries over time. They suggest that most American families are paying a steep price for high and rising income inequality.

via The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest – The New York Times

England is increasingly divided between the rich and the poor, with a 60% increase in poor households and a 33% increase in wealthy households. This has come at a time – 1980 to 2010 – when the number of middle-income households went down by 27%.

But the trend is most marked in London, according to an analysis of census data by Benjamin Hennig and Danny Dorling of the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Over the three decades, the capital has seen an 80% increase in poor households, an 80% increase in wealthy households – and a 43% decrease in middle households. Around 36% of London households are now classified as poor (up from 20% in 1980), while 37% are middle income (down from 65%).

via How 30 years of a polarised economy have squeezed out the middle class | Society | The Guardian

Illegitimate Inequality

Differences in income or assets that are based on differences in capabilities or effort are widely considered to be legitimate, but it is easy to verify that all observed differences cannot be explained in this way. In its 2016 report on the global distribution of wealth, Oxfam International reported that the richest 62 persons in the world own as much as the poorer half of the world’s population, about 3.5 billion people. Clearly, one person cannot be 100 million times as productive as another healthy and reasonably well-educated person. After all, a day and night comprises only 24 hours for all of us, rich or poor.

In a seminal paper on the drivers of inequality, Robert and Ricardo Fernholz have analysed the long-term distribution of wealth in an abstract growing market economy. They assume that the economy generates a surplus which is invested in a financial market. Even assuming that all individuals in this society are identical as far as capabilities, efforts, preferences, and initial assets are concerned, the distribution of assets will become increasingly skewed over time. In the long run, one household will own all the assets. The explanation for this is simple: small variations in return on assets will be magnified over time, because those who are lucky can afford to take somewhat higher risks and will be rewarded with even higher returns, and so on.

via Illegitimate Inequality

What is P2P? And why is it important in building a commons-centric future? These are the questions we try to answer, by tying together four of its aspects:

P2P is a type of social relations in human networks;

P2P is also a technological infrastructure that makes the generalization and scaling up of such relations possible;

P2P thus enables a new mode of production and exchange;

P2P creates the potential for a transition to an economy that can be generative towards people and nature.

via ROAR Magazine