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Who are the 0.01%?
There is a group of 5,000 people, 90% male, mostly living in London; 40% of their total income is unearned, and 15% don't work at all. Who am I talking about?
According to an article on a recent academic paper in the Economist (29 June), this is the 0.01%: the 5,000 people who made at least £2.2 million each in the ﬁnancial year 2015-16.
Since 1995, their share of overall in- come has tripled, with 2015-16 being their second-best year in recent decades. As the Economist comments: "It is likely to have risen still further since then." The article concludes that "a better understanding of the 0.01% may reveal that the gap between rich and poor has been widening more than many people thought.
Reformists will of course demand increased taxes on the incomes of the super-rich. While Marxists would support such measures, we are well aware that the rich will employ all manner of methods to retain their wealth. One of these is disguising just how much they have, as the Economist article comments: "Very rich people are particularly likely to under-report their income."
That's why we always raise alongside any such demand measures to make evasion impossible, by taking over the sources of that wealth: the commanding heights of the economy, the banks and big business. By putting these into public ownership under democratic workers' control and management, the wealth generated by society can be planned to the beneﬁt of all. Iain Dalton Leeds
Iain Dalton, Leeds
Twin towers' legacy
"On June 11, a frail and gaunt Luis Alvarez, a former New York City detective, appeared before the US House Judiciary Committee to demand an extension of the compensation fund for the first responders to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center's twin towers on September 11, 2001. Luis said: 'This fund is not a ticket to paradise, it's to provide our families with care'...
"Luis died on Saturday 29 June, aged 53, of colorectal cancer which he traced to the three months he spent in the rubble of the twin towers. His death brings a grim milestone closer - the toll of first responders to the atrocity is approaching the 2,977 killed in the atrocity, and could surpass it this year." (The Times, 1 July)
When that happens, US capitalism will have contributed to killing more victims than the terrorists! Firefighters, emergency health workers and police personnel were heaped with praise at the time, but were given no protection against asbestos and other carcinogenic building materials. Almost 20 years later, they are still having to demand financial assistance.
Let us also not forget the twin towers attack was the pretext used by George Bush Jr and his 'second-in-command' Tony Blair to authorise an invasion of Iraq, causing hundreds of thousands to die.
John Merrell, Leicester
I recently went to a craft beer festival and was told that all the food stalls were card only. While it didn't particularly bother me as I have a bank card, it focused my attention on the slow but sure growth in cashless businesses.
While most people have bank cards, there are a significant number of people who are unable to get cards from banks, or who have to manage their budgets in cash due to low pay. They could be progressively more marginalised and find it harder to buy life's essentials.
This in turn might open up another avenue for loan sharks and gangsters to prey on the poor.
Socialists fight for a nationalised banking sector which can guarantee accounts for the poor, but what is also needed is a living income for everyone.
Clive Walder, Birmingham
In The Socialist 17 July 2019:
What we think
Imperial typewriters dispute
Moon landing 50 years on
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International socialist news and analysis