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# American Wealth Inequality Represented Graphically (155,000,000 vs 400)

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posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 01:35 PM
A few weeks ago there was an extremely interesting video where Sen. Bernard Sanders talked about the extreme level of wealth inequality in America today. One of his statements really caught my attention: he said the richest 400 people in America own more wealth than the bottom 50% of all Americans. That's 400 people owning slightly more wealth than 155 million Americans. So I thought, exactly how true is that statement? It must have some merit if he's willing to cite that statistic in front of all his colleagues. I did a quick Google search and to my surprise there was already an extremely in depth article by PolitiFact which has looked at all the numbers and concluded the statement is completely true.

What they found is that by 2010, the richest 400 people in America had a net worth of \$1.37 trillion. Where as the bottom 50% of Americans had a net worth of \$1.26 trillion. According to what I've read those numbers have drifted even further apart since 2010, widening the gap between the rich and poor even more. However it was easier for me to simply stick with these figures (in fact I evened it out so each group has a net worth of \$1.3 trillion) for the task at hand... which was to represent these numbers in graphical form, because I find people often have trouble comprehending such large numbers and they respond better to pictures. So I took a few moments out of my life to actually make the graph shown below, because I was also interested to see how these numbers would look in graphical form.

EDIT: I changed the picture because I realised it was better represented in the opposite way to what I originally had it. To see the original picture click here.
edit on 20/7/2012 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 01:45 PM
If you took away what the 400 have and gave it to the others, they would all have 16,000 dollars instead of 8,000. Hardly rich.

What would that accomplish exactly?

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 01:52 PM

Originally posted by boncho
If you took away what the 400 have and gave it to the others, they would all have 16,000 dollars instead of 8,000. Hardly rich.

What would that accomplish exactly?

Stick around.... if Obama gets re-elected you will find out.

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 01:59 PM

Originally posted by tvtexan

Originally posted by boncho
If you took away what the 400 have and gave it to the others, they would all have 16,000 dollars instead of 8,000. Hardly rich.

What would that accomplish exactly?

Stick around.... if Obama gets re-elected you will find out.

I was looking for an intelligent answer, not political rhetoric.

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:00 PM

Originally posted by boncho
If you took away what the 400 have and gave it to the others, they would all have 16,000 dollars instead of 8,000. Hardly rich.

What would that accomplish exactly?

Hmmm, let me see... first of all it would DOUBLE their wealth. Second of all it would stop such a small minority from owning as much wealth as half a nation. You are simply attempting to marginalise the severity of this problem. There would be a lot of benefits if these people couldn't own such huge amounts of wealth. Your logic is the same logic used against people who question the living standards of 3rd world nations, and what would happen if we started to share more with those nations instead of using them as slave labour and sucking every cent we can from them. Our 1st world nations thrive by living off of the poverty of poor nations, just as these super rich individuals thrive by living off of the poverty of everyone else.
edit on 20/7/2012 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:06 PM
Giving everyone the same amount of money doesn't do anything. Those who are lazy and/or poor stewards will be broke in a month. Then what, give them more money? From where?

Those who work hard with what they have will just become wealthy again. Shouldn't the person who works hard and is fiscally responsible enjoy the rewards of their labor?

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:08 PM

Originally posted by boncho
If you took away what the 400 have and gave it to the others, they would all have 16,000 dollars instead of 8,000. Hardly rich.

What would that accomplish exactly?

not much, but it does show what I have been trying to explain to people of other countries than my own.
People think that Americans are rich.
Many are, but many more are not.. I have never been rich, and I think I generally live off of about \$10,000 a year( 8,000 Euros), when I used to work. That's not really living mind you.. It's not having a car or money for gas. It's not having health insurance.

I know others have it worse too. It is built like a pyramid. How many man hours does it take to feed you one hamburger? How many hours for a shirt if YOU had to do it?

The only way out of this is to not have jobs that aren't worth enough to live off of. You have to have enough worth to society to pay your own way, or leach it. No one has enough worth to live like a king. They aren't using their own time creating wealth. They have hidden these facts by the use of debt.

Wealth basically comes down to food and minerals mixed with man hours.

The way to increase this is by utilizing higher energy forms, and automated processes to manufacture and serve the world. This isn't ready to happen yet, hence the Rich viewing us as "Useless eaters."

Basically there is a readjustment coming, either by choice or by fate, and there is no way to avoid it...

edit on 7/20/2012 by Dustytoad because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:08 PM

1. Not everyone in that 155 million has \$8000.
2. \$16,000 is double 8 but not that much either.
3. Money is useless, (especially being that it is fiat) so the idea that having \$8000 extra monopoly dollars and that is supposed to enrich your life in some way is ludicrous.

The system is broken. Simple as that. There is nothing wrong with people earning more or getting more out of life. Some people strive to do more, some people are more motivated than others and they deserve this.

There are people and companies that I have enjoyed earning for throughout my life. I was satisfied in their success and my own and I don't see why they don't deserve what they earn just as I do myself.
edit on 20-7-2012 by boncho because: fixed number

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:13 PM

Right boncho.

However they are holding Time hostage. Each of those dollars represents a fraction of man hours. It's time put in that get's locked up in bank accounts. They need to reinvest their money as to bring the energy back into this system. It's like a pool with a leak and the water not coming back in to feed it. As long as the water is flowing everyone can get a taste, but once it stagnates there is no growth.

They could re-invest in real comodities like food/water/expensive cars/charity...

Then they still keep their value, while supporting others...

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:15 PM

Giving everyone the same amount of money doesn't do anything.
First of all I never said anything about the rich handing out their money until everyone has the same amount, that is an assumption Boncho made without even knowing how I really see this problem and how I think it can be remedied. See the following thread if you wish to know exactly where I stand:
Contribution Factor Theory

Shouldn't the person who works hard and is fiscally responsible enjoy the rewards of their labor?
Yes, fine... but you know what, most of those 155 million Americans work 8 to 10 hours a day 5 days a week. Do you really believe the CEO's and shareholders actually work so much harder that the wealth gap I portray in the above graphic is actually justified? You really believe such a huge ridiculous difference in wealth is justified? There's no way in hell those 400 people worked even 1% as hard as they'd need to to justify them having that amount of wealth. As I note in the thread I linked above, the problem is how they got such a huge amount of wealth compared to everyone else in the first place, not trying to get that wealth back from them. We need to fix the root cause of the problem and not slap a temporary treatment on the problem.

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:15 PM

The only way out of this is to not have jobs that aren't worth enough to live off of. You have to have enough worth to society to pay your own way, or leach it. No one has enough worth to live like a king. They aren't using their own time creating wealth. They have hidden these facts by the use of debt.

The thing that bothers me is when I walk downtown and I see massive skyscrapers that hold 20,000 something people who just sit around filling out papers all day.

Really?

Filling out papers.

What exactly are you contributing to society Dennis? Did those papers grow something that could be eaten? Did those papers line the walls of a house that is being built? Did those papers do anything other than form complex words of uselessness that makes you feel accomplished in some way?

Banking,
Insurance,
Telecom billing,
etc.

The industries of uselessness.

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:18 PM

So now you may wonder how do we shift out of a capitalistic system to one where wealth can be more evenly distributed.

This is your problem. You are focusing on things being "evenly distributed" without addressing useful production.

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:19 PM

2 posts up:
Exactly..
edit on 7/20/2012 by Dustytoad because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:19 PM

1. Not everyone in that 133 million has \$8000.
Clearly.

2. \$16,000 is double 8 but not that much either.
It's still a lot better than 8K isn't it.

3. Money is useless, (especially being that it is fiat) so the idea that having \$8000 extra monopoly dollars and that is supposed to enrich your life in some way is ludicrous.

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:20 PM

This is your problem. You are focusing on things being "evenly distributed" without addressing useful production.
Wrong. I am focusing on things being FAIRLY distributed. There is a key difference.
edit on 20/7/2012 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:23 PM

Originally posted by ChaoticOrder

1. Not everyone in that 133 million has \$8000.
Clearly.

2. \$16,000 is double 8 but not that much either.
It's still a lot better than 8K isn't it.

3. Money is useless, (especially being that it is fiat) so the idea that having \$8000 extra monopoly dollars and that is supposed to enrich your life in some way is ludicrous.

8k or 16k is not enough to retire, not enough to do much of anything. An extra 8k could be spent on a one time purchase of a watch. This is hardly anything to call home about. 8k is a Christmas bonus to many... What is 8k?

You will take the monopoly dollars yes, and spend them. And cry when they are gone still wondering why you are broke. That's the problem.

Everyone is broke without realizing it. Even the rich people.

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:23 PM
Americans have to stop "working for the man". When you are "working for the man", it is "the man" who is going to get rich, not you. I know it is hard to start your own business in these times, but it is the only way to guarantee that the hours you spend working will enrich yourself and not someone else.

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:28 PM

First of all, I think that the OP has presented an absolutely outstanding visual representation of the current wealth disparity present in the United States. Well done.

For all or those who are attempting to justify this catastrophe with social-Darwinist over simplifications, I don't believe that the OP is attempting to say that all of that wealth should be taken away and then evenly distributed. Hierarchy is inevitable, and part of that is hoarding wealth. It's how the system works, however, when that distribution becomes too one sided (like now), the system will collapse. A certain balance must be achieved between the "haves" and the "have not's", lest the masses with less revolt in attempt to redistribute wealth/resources, or simply have too little of it to be productive within the contemporary paradigm.

As an aside; it took me a while to find your single pixle... Funny thing that.
edit on 20-7-2012 by redhorse because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:31 PM

8k or 16k is not enough to retire, not enough to do much of anything. An extra 8k could be spent on a one time purchase of a watch. This is hardly anything to call home about. 8k is a Christmas bonus to many... What is 8k?
You seem to be forgetting these statistics concern net worth, not income. The average net worth of each person on the bottom 50% is 8K, meaning they have about 8K worth of assets, such as a car etc. To double their personal asset value is not as trivial as you make it seem.

You will take the monopoly dollars yes, and spend them. And cry when they are gone still wondering why you are broke. That's the problem.

Everyone is broke without realizing it. Even the rich people.
Now you are just blabbering nonsense... they are broke because they spend their money? No s**t sherlock, they spend their minimal wages on bills and food and other things they need to survive, leaving them with hardly anything, only just enough for the average of them to build a net worth of 8K. And how you equate that into "rich people are broke" is completely beyond me. If you mean broke, as in lacking morality and empathy, yes they are broke in that department.

posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 02:36 PM

Originally posted by redhorse

First of all, I think that the OP has presented an absolutely outstanding visual representation of the current wealth disparity present in the United States. Well done.

For all or those who are attempting to justify this catastrophe with social-Darwinist over simplifications, I don't believe that the OP is attempting to say that all of that wealth should be taken away and then evenly distributed. Hierarchy is inevitable, and part of that is hoarding wealth. It's how the system works, however, when that distribution becomes too one sided (like now), the system will collapse. A certain balance must be achieved between the "haves" and the "have not's", lest the masses with less revolt in attempt to redistribute wealth/resources, or simply have too little of it to be productive within the contemporary paradigm.

As an aside; it took me a while to find your single pixle... Funny thing that.

Yep..
How come the Rich people havn't realized that we are on the edge of being able to play in this game, and if we get pushed much further the whole game crashes down and they become almost as poor as us??

If I was Rich I would be calling up all my buddies trying to find ways to prop this system up,
OR
I would have spent all my paper by now on real world items and bought factories, farms, water supplies and mines...

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