Monday, April 04, 2011
(NHN) Extraterrestrial Commentary on Income Inequality
“Quite right, Zplork.”“Is it true that a mere 1% of the population possesses more than 50% of all the wealth on the planet?"
”That is indeed the case, Glorp. 30 Earth-years ago, when I was but a gleam in Zplork Sr.’s compound eye, the gap between the richest 20% of the population and the rest stood at 30-to-1; now it's 74-to-1. And over the same period, while the (real) income of the bottom 90% of the U.S.A. nation-state fell by 7%, the income of the top 1/100 of 1% of the people of that country rose by nearly 600%."
"Well, that must surely infuriate the average denizen of the U.S.A. nation-state!"
"Oddly enough, these particular earthlings are happier than most to defend radical inequalities in wealth, power, and income. While they suffer from the highest rate of inequality among similarly developed nation-states, they do comparatively little about it; and a recent terrestrial survey suggests that its citizens are mostly unconcerned about the plight of those least advantaged by the current inequalities.”
“That is a disturbing bit of news, Glorp. But I suppose we shouldn't expect too much from a creature sporting such a tiny brain and backwards-bending limbs.”
”Let’s not confuse aesthetics with science, Zplork. While no doubt physically repulsive, animal ethologists back on Mars have concluded that humans are sufficiently sentient for us to expect that they can, at least in principle, consistently adopt the moral point of view."
"Well, perhaps some of them can. Let’s not forget that this one nation-state spends nearly as much as all of the others combined preparing for war.”
“That is indeed a sign of a serious cognitive and moral deficiency, my translucent green friend…"