I am always living up to the last minute until the check comes

Something is Monumentally Wrong with Our Economy

The agony of being backed into a corner every month is an assault on my nerves.

Four red roses under clear blue water
Four red roses under clear blue water

My bride and I sold our home last June. We are both 69 and have been married since we were 21. We were married in 1971. 48 YEARS!

Oh my! Time sure has flown by.

In retrospect, that seems such a short time ago. The last few years seem like an eternity though.

There are lots to be thankful for though. We found a two-bedroom apartment that I don’t have to walk upstairs to get to.

We didn’t have to give up our two Ragdoll cats, Mango and Lacey. Mango is a flame point and Lacey is a Chocolate point.

Mango flame point Ragdoll Cat
Mango flame point Ragdoll Cat
Mango, Flame Point Ragdoll
Lacey Chocolate Point Ragdoll Cat
Lacey Chocolate Point Ragdoll Cat
Lacy, Chocolate Point Ragdoll
The biggest worry was our Landseer Newfoundland Berkely
The biggest worry was our Landseer Newfoundland Berkely
Berkely, our Land-seer Newfoundland

Berkey was the biggest worry. If we would not have been able to keep her I don’t know what my bride nor I would do.

When I was able to walk like a normal person she was rarely 5 feet from my side. She is a Certified Companion dog also.

My bride got a few plaques to keep me company in my office my favorite is this one:

I just want to work in my garden and pet my dog
I just want to work in my garden and pet my dog
I just want to work in my garden and pet my dog.

I am working on blog posts about growing roses. I did that for over twenty years in our small yard in Proctor MN.

What brought this topic up, I had finished writing a blog post and I was going to pay bills. Silly me! Checks don’t come until next week. Dang!

Let me put things in perspective if it is OK with you.

Two years after we exited the United States Army (I was drafted in 1971. Yes, I received my draft notice the day we returned from our honeymoon!)

Income at the time, in the US, is displayed in the information below.

Income is the average salary in these years:

1975 -$13,779

1980- $21,063

2000- $51,585

2010- $67,392

2014- $75,738

No, I don’t mind your asking. No, I was not making anywhere near the level of income listed here. I had the misfortune of changing careers three times since I left the Army. It was my own choosing but I never anticipated such a dramatic shift in income.

What do you have to earn to be middle-class? Great question but it is different for every state and probably for select areas within a state.

Since I’m from Minnesota I will start there for a quick comparison. In 2015 the median household income was $60,792.

For the Minnesota middle-class, the lower boundary was $40,468 and the upper boundary was $121,404. (Minnesota is tenth highest on the list by the way.)

For comparison, Mississippi was $37,963 for median income. The lower boundary of the middle-class was $25, 309 and the upper $75,926.

It is hard to speak in generalities of any kind. However, I will attempt it.

In 2014 The New York Times (sorry the link to that page is no longer active) stated that comparing the 20th percentile, Americans in 2014 earned less than Norwegians, Canadians, Dutch, Germans, Swedes, and Finlanders, (comparing those in each countries’ respective 20th percentile).

For comparison, three decades earlier Americans earned more than anyone except Canadians.

Let us start with a smart man (and a wealthy one- one of the three richest men in America). An aside: People with a net worth of more than $1 million represent just 0.7% of the world’s population but they have 41% of the wealth. (Again the original page is no longer there.)

In the U.S. three men Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos combined hold more wealth than 50% of the population or 160 million people.

The alarming note is that 63 million people, one-fifth of the population have a zero or even negative net worth.

Income inequality is not just a financial issue.

A United Nations official, Amina Mohammed notes: Income equality is a major problem because it also encompasses “poverty, environmental degradation, persistent unemployment, political instability, violence, and conflict.”

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This Chart is from 2015–4 years ago

This is not a new issue.

It is safe to say, the economy we have in the world today is not working for humanity.

“It will take 100 years for the world’s poorest people to earn $1.25 a day.”

Which areas of the world will suffer the worst income inequality in the next 12–18 months
Which areas of the world will suffer the worst income inequality in the next 12–18 months

Do you think the world will stand still for this?

The three richest men in America held a combined wealth of $248.5 BILLION in mid-September 2017.

As of April 8, 2018, the “new estimated figure stands at $263 BILLION thanks largely to Jeff Bezos of Amazon.”

That is STAGGERING! A 5.5% increase IN LESS THAN ONE YEAR!!

Is it going to be business as usual?

“Since 1980 the global economy has grown 380%.”

“But the number of people living in poverty (on less than $5 per day)has increased by more than 1.1 BILLION that’s 17 times the population of Britain.”

Please prove to me the trickle-down theory works.

I’m waiting!

There is a standardized unit that measures resource and waster. It is called a “global hectare.”

“ Our planet only has enough resources for each of us to consume 1.8 global hectares.”

The average person in Ghana or Guatemala consumes approximately 1.8 global hectares.

By contrast, people in the US and Canada consume about 8 hectares per person, while Europeans consume 4.7 hectares.”

Maybe that can be called gluttony — one of the seven deadly sins.

Poor countries? They are never going to catch up!

Life expectancy in the United States is 78.4 years.

In Cuba, it is 79.1!

The Gross Domestic Product per capita of Cuba is $6,000. Each person consumes 1.9 global hectares.

To really rub the insult in:

Life Expectancy throughout the world.

Literary rates throughout the world. (Wikipedia)

Albania: 99.2

Uganda: 83.7

Ukraine: 100

Zambia: 88.7

Zimbabwe: 90.4

The United States of America is 86% at best. (World Atlas)

The richest country in the world consumes the most resources and is almost dead last in measurable levels of sustainability. The level of sustainability is what I call the way we function in society. The actions we take is our way to happiness and well-being.

Our actions show us to be GLUTTONS on the world stage.

It is not acceptable.

Have we earned the right to be such hoarders?

Can we justify ourselves to the rest of the world?

Many, if not most, of the countries, measure better than we do in things that make for truly civilized societies!

We should not look at other countries as deprived or third world or underdeveloped.

We should look at countries in the top tier of usage of global hectares as overdeveloped.

We should have to justify our existence, or at least our gluttonous ways to the rest of the world.

Warren Buffett states emphatically that the rich should not just dine at their table but share their riches with everyone.

They cannot justify hoarding their wealth! What are they going to do with it anyway?

I have seen Facebook posts emphasizing that when people were my age (69) were growing up new schools were built and the Interstate Highway System was built.

There was not a teetering pyramid of uber-wealthy at the top.

Now? We cannot even MAINTAIN our highways and byways. Our bridges. Our everything!

So, we’ve looked at INCOME INEQUALITY. This inequality exists not just in the United States. It is a dysfunction that encompasses the whole globe.

So, we’ve defined INCOME INEQUALITY. It is not just an economic issue but a global issue of sustenance health, education, housing, jobs. People need a sense of self-worth to survive in this world.

So, we’ve defined INCOME INEQUALITY as gluttony by a very few people around the world but especially in the United States where we use 8.7 global hectares of the world’s resources as compare to Ghana, Guatemala, Nicaragua just to site a few examples.

Can we really justify our gluttony when we can’t even compare to many countries of the world on life expectancy or even literacy?

Which country is the underdeveloped one? Or do we have an underdeveloped ethos of what is proper and just?

How dare we look down on other countries? How can we justify gluttony — the third of the seven deadly sins?

Moral Compass Good Evil Wrong Right
Moral Compass Good Evil Wrong Right
Our Moral Compass must be broken

The United States has outstripped and cast off our moral compass in its capacity to keep our growth on an equitable path. We don’t enrich everyone so that all Americans can live with a degree of self-worth and prosperity.

Perhaps we do indeed need to de-develop our sense if those “things” we need to feel self-fulfilled without gobbling up far more than our share of the world’s resources.

Perhaps I don’t need to feel overwhelmed at the prospect for our future. I have the lack of longevity on my side.

Thanks for stopping.

Craig Martineau

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A WEALTH of red rose

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Retired. I write about Current Events, Personal Experiences on Medium, on Blogger with several sites, WordPress, Substack and Gumroad.

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