Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/976/26640
The Socialist 3 January 2018 |
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Widening wealth gap, increase in poverty... Make the fat cats pay
We are the 99% - Take the wealth off the 1% Socialist Party placard, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Helen Pattison, London Socialist Party
Don't put the party poppers away just yet. There's one last thing to celebrate. Fat Cat Thursday! Well, it's not exactly a celebration if you're working class. In fact its only the super-rich who actually enjoy the event.
Fat Cat Wednesday marks the point on Thursday 4 January when chief executives of FTSE 100, the largest businesses on the London Stock Exchange, will have already 'earnt' the average salary of working people for the whole year. According to research by the High Pay Centre it takes them less than a week to pocket £28,000 median salary in the UK.
It's a stark reminder of the huge void that exists between the living standards of working class people and the tops of society.
Fat Cat Thursday has become an annual event when the inequality of capitalism is really laid bare. How can Theresa May say with a straight face that there is no "magic money tree" for hard-working NHS staff reliant on food banks when in hours these executives have already pocketed thousands?
This huge inequality and the driving down of living standards since the 2008 economic crisis is also seriously affecting people's health. 4.6 million people are living in persistent poverty which is contributing to a rise in poverty-related illnesses such as rickets. Asthma is also on the rise, in part due to the number of children living in temporary and poor quality accommodation.
Parents are struggling, with one in five skipping a meal to feed their children over the summer holidays. The right-wing rags have said that Jeremy Corbyn and anti-austerity campaigners want to take us back in time, when in reality its capitalism that's taking us back to the social horrors of the 19th century.
Rather than allowing Fat Cat Thursday to get us down, we should be used as inspiration to fight for a real alternative to capitalism. The wealth is clearly there - it's just hoarded by the super-rich. If that wealth was taken from the 1% it could be democratically planned and used to ensure a decent standard of living for all.