By MIKE ALEWITZ
On Oct. 29, 1929, the New York Stock Exchange collapsed, triggering the Great Depression—an epic catastrophe for millions of people. Tales of desperate, broken investors jumping to their deaths is largely a myth. For the super-rich, the crash was an opportunity to get even richer. Then as now, every new disaster that befalls our planet is simply another opportunity for increased profit.
Today, according to Oxfam International, twenty-one hundred billionaires own more of the world’s wealth than the poorest 4.6 billion people.
In the U.S., the three richest individual parasites hold as much wealth as the bottom half of the country’s population. The top 1% of Americans have a combined net worth of $34.2 trillion (30.4% of all household wealth), while the bottom 50% of the population holds just $2.1 trillion combined (or 1.9% of all wealth).
The fortunes of the super-rich have soared during the pandemic. Elon Musk’s fortune grew by 242% to over $100 billion. Jeff Bezos added $65 billion so far this year.
The ongoing transfer of wealth is the largest in history and is growing exponentially. As millions of workers are being driven ever deeper into poverty, more money flows into the coffers of the ruling class. How much do they want? More. Always more.
For the worlds’ poor, capitalism means enormous human suffering—all so that a handful of the super-rich can possess more wealth than they can ever spend.
Periodic economic crisis are endemic to the profit system—the social, ecological, health and economic disasters will continue until we replace this horrid system. The insanity of capitalism can only be ended by replacing it with an economic system based on human needs.
The idea that fundamental change can come by voting for this or that representative of the ruling-class Democratic-Republican Party is a delusion. Genuine change can only be accomplished through revolutionary struggle.
Image: NY: THE CAPITAL OF CAPITALISM; Panel: THE HELL OF EXPLOITATION; Mural: THE CITY AT THE CROSSROADS OF HISTORY, by Mike Alewitz / 2014
Mural Commissioned for the Puffin Gallery of Social Activism, Museum of the City of New York. Censored by the Museum of the City of New York and the Puffin Foundation.