16 March, 2013

Winter wonders

Oh, the wonders of this sparse northern German winter landscape / traveling back on a train after being away on a two-day business trip / anxious to be back in the warmth and safety of my home / the sun sets orange over the grey, brown, tired land/ swarms of fowl populate the bristled fields / this is their brief stop over on their way to Sweden from Africa / all the while I listen to the brilliant author Tarun Tejpal talk about his childhood spent in India on the Canadian podcast, Writers and Company / so many complain about our life here being provincial / what do they know!

10 March, 2013

Barking up the wrong tree

This video shows the results of Harvard business economist's study about the wealth distribution in the States. The study asked 5,000 Americans what they think would be the ideal distribution curve and secondly, what they think the reality is. The video uses smart infographics to show these results and then with a twist painful twist, what is the cruel reality.  

I tried to find out what the actual reality of wealth distribution in Germany is. Germany is not a social state to the extent the Scandinavians are considered to be, but it is a social state nevertheless. Since we have social medicine and social assistance, I hoped the wealth distribution would be fairer.

After a briefly researching the internet, I found these figures:
  • 0.5% of Germans own 25% of private wealth (in comparison, 1% of American's own 40% of their nation's wealth)
  • 5%  own 46%
  • 10% own  67%
Sitting on the side of the chart which the video above describes as, "just scraping by" these German figures appear to me to be similarly appalling, even if they are admittedly mathematically not equal with the States.

So, what conclusions can I draw? Maybe, that from the perspective of us normal folk, the wealth distribution is stupendously askew in all so-called industrial countries. Could we even be barking up the wrong tree, always comparing wealth distribution with costs of socialism?