Monopoly man with axe dancing on money bags, 1% super-rich austerity inequality, credit: Torbakhopper (Creative Commons)
Monopoly man with axe dancing on money bags, 1% super-rich austerity inequality, credit: Torbakhopper (Creative Commons)

Take the wealth off the super-rich

Join the socialist fightback

Tom Baldwin, Bristol South Socialist Party

While most people worry about the rising cost of living, a handful of the super-rich are thriving.

2022’s Sunday Times Rich List shows once again the huge wealth divide in British society. Collectively UK-based billionaires increased their wealth by £55 billion, up 9.4% on last year.

The increasing concentration of wealth among a tiny minority means that the top 250 entries in the list now own more wealth between them than the top 1,000 did just five years ago.

While the rich get richer, most of us are getting poorer. A recent poll showed 89% of Brits are cutting back on spending. One-in-three people are buying less food and one-in-six are turning their heating off altogether.

The supermarket Iceland is now offering credit, allowing customers to buy food on the ‘never never’. They’ve done this because there’s a need for it; their managing director admitted that they’re losing customers to food banks and to hunger. Another poll showed more than half the population think that the cost-of-living crisis is already impacting on their health.

Them and us chasm

What is the government doing in the face of this growing crisis? There has been precious little offered to help those who are struggling, and no attempt whatsoever to close the gaping chasm between the super-rich and the working class.

That should come as no surprise. The Tories represent the interests of the billionaire class. In fact, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has become the first frontline politician to join the Rich List. Along with his wife, Akshata Murthy, he’s placed at number 222 in the list, with a combined fortune of £730 million.

The contrast between the prospects for the richest and the rest of us could not be starker. But it is not coincidental. Karl Marx described how under capitalism “accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery at the opposite pole.” Those words are just as true as when they were written.

It is workers that create the wealth in society. The super-rich are parasites who amass fortunes by underpaying and exploiting us. We need to take the wealth off the billionaires by bringing the biggest businesses and banks into public ownership, to be run democratically in the interests of all. By taking these steps towards the socialist transformation of society, inequality, poverty and exploitation could be ended for good. Join the Socialist Party to fight for it.