Thursday, January 19, 2017

Centralization of Wealth and Power Increases Disposability of "the Rest"

Several decades of neoliberal globalization and de-regulation have further polarized wealth among the few:
Study: 8 people have same wealth as world's poorest half Kim Hjelmgaard (January 16, 2017). Study: Wealth of 8 Equals Poorest Half. USA TODAY - The Arizona Republic, 3B. Online version available
[From print version} "Eight men now own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world. A top corporate CEO earns as much in a year as 10,000 garment factor workers in Bangladesh. And the world's 10 biggest corporations together have revenue greater than the 180 poorest countries combined, according to a study published Sunday by Oxfam....

..."the riches esight people on the planet have net wealth of $426 billion..."

...The report, "An Economy for the 99%" was released as global leaders and the business elite traveled to Davos Switzerland, for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum... Oxfam based its calculations on data from Swiss bank Credit Suisse's 2016 Global Wealth report and Forbes' billionaires list of the world's richest people"
Neoliberal political and economic globalization over the last few decades have accelerated and dispersed policies and practices of dispossession. Accordingly, social theorist and critic Henry Giroux argues that disposability now circulates among previously immune groups:
Disposability is no longer the exception but the norm. As the reach of disposability has broadened to include a range of groups extending from college youth and poor minorities to the unemployed and members of the middle class who have lost their homes in the financial crisis of 2007, a shift in the radicalness and reach of the machinery of disposability constitutes not only a new mode of authoritarian politics, but also demands a new political vocabulary for understanding how the social contract has virtually disappeared while the mechanisms of expulsion, disposability, and state violence have become more integrated and menacing.[i]
Giroux points out that dissolution of the social contract and disposability grow in conjunction with more integrated and menacing forms of state violence.

We shall see whether Trump can temper his authoritarian impulses against the "disposables" who resist the legitimacy of his presidency. This week will be the first test case.

[i] Henry Giroux, “Global Capitalism and the Culture of Mad Violence,” Counterpunch September 2, 2015. Accessed September 5, 2015,