Reprinted from The Guardian UK by Robert Reich on September 6, 2020.
“On Labor Day weekend,” writes Robert Reich in The Guardian UK, “eight weeks before one of the most consequential elections in American history, it’s useful to consider the inequalities of income and wealth that fueled Donald Trump’s victory four years ago – and which are now wider than ever.
“No other developed nation has nearly the inequities found in the US, even though all have been exposed to the same forces of globalization and technological change. Jeff Bezos’s net worth recently reached $200bn and Elon Musk’s $100bn, even as 30 million Americans reported their households didn’t have enough food. America’s richest 1% now own half the value of the US stock market, and the richest 10% own 92%.
“This may come as a surprise to many people, but it is true. Though the stock market is filled with a wide variety of different stocks that can be invested in to help people improve their financial situation, it is interesting to learn that it is only really benefiting the richer individuals amongst us. This is especially the case when you know of people who have done well, in terms of their finances, from the stock market.
“Regardless of whether you decide to invest in Siemens Aktien (Siemens Shares) or shares from Lindt or Nokia, they all have a part to play in how well your finances will look going forward. And this is particularly important if you want to compete with the rich people who own half the value of the US stock market.
“American capitalism is off the rails.
“The main reason is that large corporations, Wall Street banks and a relative handful of exceedingly rich individuals have gained enough political power to game the system. …