For some time now (some time meaning about a year now) I have been suspiciously spectating the super wealthy within America and how they have shifted from slowly creeping up the ladder of wealth to expeditiously scaling it. It has actually been quite fascinating to watch Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos appear in news headlines week after week in the past year. The most compelling component of these articles for me has not been the rockets, electric cars, or same-day delivery, but the net worths of these individuals which are constantly noted when they are mentioned. For broader reference, a news article from the U.S. News reported recently that the combined net worth of the 664 billionaires in America sits around 4.2 trillion, which is 44% higher than it was this time last year (2021). While this number is phenomenal and reflects the reality that the top 1% in America hold over 30% of the country’s wealth, this reality we live in is frankly frightening. Let me tell you why.
The world as we know it functions due to the constant balancing acts that are in play around us all, from the balance of the stock market that is eternally being pushed and pulled by a number of factors to the balance of work and leisure that we face on a daily basis. Considering this, I believe that we should all be paying more attention to the imbalance that will arise as a result of this sudden increase in wealth within America’s elite. We are currently watching the spectacle that is the lives of the super wealthy but we will soon be viewing the tragedy that will come in the form of the lives of the super poor. Even as the unemployment rates are returning to “normal” levels as the U.S. economy continues to adapt to Covid-19, there are still plenty of Americans who are out of work or at back at work, either earning less or with less hours. For those that got the short-end of the stick and are unemployed, the worst is yet to come as I personally believe the next few years will prove to be the worst in regard to the economic disparities the lower class will face.
However, only time will tell. So the next time you see that new net worth estimate for the world’s richest man, just think about where the money has come from.
by Darion Allen, WSUM Talk Director