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Thursday, October 07, 2021

Global Inequality Part Two

 Originally, I was going to write a quick status update on Facebook about this but I had like a week in the hospital to sit alone and think about this and yall know that this is one of my passions so this quickly spun out of control into something much longer and something I thought more appropriate for a follow up blog post about global inequality instead of something short on Facebook. For those of you who take the time to read my thoughts, I thank you.

This all started because Facebook helpfully (or unhelpfully) reminded me that 13 years ago when I was in my early 20´s I was making 12 dollars an hour working at a construction related job. It wasn't great but considering that the minimum wage at the time was 5.15 an hour and I didn't have too many expenses so I was doing ok. 

Well once the recession of 2007-2009 hit, my company at the time told us that we could all take a paycut to 11.50 an hour or be released from our jobs. I was not happy but I accepted the pay cut. Then two months later our company was liquidated and I ended up being laid off anyway. That is what gave me the push I needed to move to Australia and start my world travels.

Well I am positive that the fat cat CEO of our company at the time, didnt take a paycut from the millions he was bringing in. When our company was liquidated, I was sure he got a huge retirement package or transitioned to another job without problems while all us little guys who were just struggling to get by were the ones that had to take a paycut on our meager salaries, all for nothing!

Global inequality has only gotten worse in the past 13 years and I am part of the problem as I continue to support a system that makes the rich, richer and the poor, poorer. If you are religious, atheist or agnostic, all of us should realize that the current system is broken. If you are a follower of any of the Abrahamic religions, a Muslim, Buddhist or basically any other main stream religion, your chosen God or Deity would never tell you that Jeff Bezos should have 200+ billion dollars while his workers have to pee in bottles because they do not have enough time go to the bathroom. 

I am going to pick on Jeff Bezos because he is currently (as of 2021) the richest man in the world but he is by no means the only one or even the worst one. In fact, I can´t even fault him for taking all the legal options available to him to get as much personal wealth as possible. But he should share that wealth. 

We should all understand that every human being on the planet deserves to make a livable wage and not have to struggle to keep the lights on or feed their family. It should be a moral imperative, for the religious and non religious alike, to want to help their fellow human beings. Everyone should get a shot at a basic decent standard of living.

I don't have any answers. I don't know how to fix this, I just know that it needs to be fixed. Recently a Saudi King paid 456 million USD for a painting. A painting! It costs roughly 13,000 USD per year to house one homeless person in the U.S., let's be generous and give them an additional 6000 USD per year for food and other expenses for a total of 20,000 USD per person per year.  Using that 456 million dollars you could house and feed 4,385,964 people for one year. All that for the price of a single painting some guy is going to put on his wall and hide away from the world. I am ashamed of humanity sometimes. 

Here are some stats related to Jeff Bezos. 

1. Pay Inequality
The Columbia Journalism Review reported that it would cost just $9 million a year to fix pay inequality in its newsroom. Ensuring equal pay at the Post would be akin to sparing pocket change for Bezos, who would still have $199.991 billion.
2. World Hunger
For the sake of argument, let’s just say it’s a “good” year for hunger and the cost to solve it is on the lower end, let’s say $10 billion. Bezos could pay and still have $190 billion to his name.
3. Extreme Poverty
 The World Bank classifies extreme poverty as living on less than $1.90 a day. To get above the extreme poverty threshold and into the higher poverty groups, you’d need to earn about $3.20 a day.
The math depends on location, but if 804 million people need a bump from $1.89 to $3.20, then $1.05 billion would be needed to close that gapBezos could front the cash and still have just about $199 billion in the bank.
4. Clean Water
Across the globe, 2.2 billion people do not have access to safely managed drinking water services. WRI research estimates that resolving the clean water crisis by 2030 would cost just more than 1% of the global GDP, or roughly 29 cents per person daily, from 2015 to 2030. That number would surely exceed Bezos’ worth.
But Bezos could manage the clean water crisis in the U.S. In Michigan, 140,000 Flint residents have been exposed to lead in their water supply. Replacing all lead pipes in municipal water systems could cost somewhere between a few billion to $50 billion. Even if it cost him $50 billion to replace lead pipes and open up access to clean water in U.S. households, Bezos would still have $150 billion.
5. Education
Perhaps getting the world an education is beyond the powers of Bezos’ net worth, but he could make an outstanding impact. states that $58 a year can pay for the education fees, books and school supplies of one child. Using this math, Bezos could cover this fee for 10 million children, for all grades K-12 at the cost of about $7.5 billion. He would still have over $192 billion.
6. Child Health
A donation of $39 a month to Save The Children can sponsor a child in the U.S. in need. That’s $468 a year. Hypothetically speaking, for $40 billion, Bezos could sponsor 5 million children for 17 years. He’d still have $160 billion.
7. Clean Oceans
The best way to stem the flow of plastic waste into the oceans — plastic pollution could be reduced by 80% over the next 20 years. The price tag on such an ambitious overhaul is $600 billion, which is actually $70 billion cheaper than not overhauling it, because of reduced use of virgin plastic, National Geographic reported.
8. Vaccines
Back in 2006, the study, “Worldwide cost‐effectiveness of infant BCG vaccination” found that for $1.8 million you could prevent nearly 300 cases of severe childhood tuberculosis worldwide, or 450 in Southeast Asia.
Factoring in inflation, that number today is more like $2.3 million. For around $23 billion, Bezos could provide TB prevention for 300,000 children worldwide, or 450,000 in Southeast Asia. He’d still have $177 billion.
9. Homelessness
A 2019 report released by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute determined that it would cost $12.7 billion to end homelessness Bezos could pay that and still have $187.3 billion.
10. Climate Action
The big picture of climate change is pricier. The International Renewable Energy Agency says $750 billion a year is needed in renewables over a decade. Then you’ve got the cost of carbon capturing and storage ($2.5 trillion), $ 2.7 trillion for biofuels — and the list goes on. All in all, you’re looking at at least $50 trillion to solve climate change.

All stats taken from

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