Photo by Thomas de LUZE on Unsplash

The problem in our democracy is inequality, not tech giants.

What happened in the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 is not a The consequence of social networks existing without legal boundaries. Nor is it a direct consequence of Trump being in power. Both, are a symptom of something much deeper going on in American society: INEQUALITY.

Income and wealth inequality is greater in the US than in almost any other developed country, and it is increasing.

We are suffering a damage of democracy from its foundations, and there is not a single media that talks about the underlying problem, but about Trump and his speeches calling for violence, or telling us who was the clown dressed as a shaman.

In the US there has been a huge problem of poverty, discrimination and drug addiction among many of its population for decades, and they have no future or hope. For example, in California there are many homeless people. And the trend is upward.

There are 21 million Americans addicted to at least one drug. Only 10% are in rehab, and death by overdose has tripled since the 1990s.

25% of Americans have delayed medical treatment for a serious illness because of the cost of care. 45,000 Americans DIE EVERY YEAR as a direct result of having no health insurance coverage.

US have the highest GDP in the world, and elected a president as close to being an authoritarian leader in a democracy. why?

Basically, because the understanding that everyone needs at least a reasonable chance at a normal life has been lost. And, fascism’s best friend is inequality.

Income and wealth inequality is greater in the United States than in almost any other developed country, and it is increasing.

The U.S. Inequality Debate
Source: https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/us-inequality-debate

Income inequality is the main reason why the vast majority of Americans experienced a disappointing decline in their standard of living over the past four decades.

In other words, most Americans are experiencing slow income growth because most of the overall income growth is going to upper class households.

The median household income (after taxes and government benefits, and adjusted for inflation) of the top 1 percent increased 226% from 1979 to 2016.

Decades of rising economic inequality in the U.S.
Source: https://www.epi.org/publication/decades-of-rising-economic-inequality-in-the-u-s-testimony-before-the-u-s-house-of-representatives-ways-and-means-committee/

Meanwhile, the income of the rest of the top 20% grew by 79%. The average income of the bottom 20% increased by 85%.

ATTENTION WITH THIS FACT: Between 1978 and 2018, CEO salaries increased by more than 900%, while worker salaries increased by 11.9%.

Still, inequality in the U.S. exceeds that of other wealthy nations. This is reflected in the steadily rising U.S. Gini coefficient, a measure of a country’s economic inequality ranging from zero (completely equal) to one hundred (completely unequal).

The U.S. Gini coefficient was 39 in 2017, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a group of advanced economies, higher than all other members except Chile, Mexico and Turkey.

The U.S. Inequality Debate
Source: https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/us-inequality-debate

Let’s now talk about student debt, one of the nation’s biggest problems. In 2019, Americans collectively owe MORE THAN $1.6 BILLION in student debt.

And the number of families affected has grown rapidly: One in five US households now has student loan debt, up from one in 10 in 1989.

The result: the racial wealth gap, high levels of student debt, and unequal access to and outcomes of higher education for black students, and particularly black women, continually reinforce each other.

17 out of every 10,000 people in US experienced homelessness on a single night in January 2019. These 567,715 people represent a cross-section of America. They are associated with every region of the country, family status, gender category, and racial/ethnic group.

State of Homelessness: 2020 Edition
Source: https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/homelessness-statistics/state-of-homelessness-2020/

CHILD POVERTY. Children are the poorest age group in the US. Nearly 1 in 6 lived in poverty in 2018 (nearly 11.9 million children). The child poverty rate (16%) is nearly 1.5 times higher than that of adults aged 18-64 (11%).

Children are considered poor if they live in a family with an annual income below the Federal Poverty Line of $25,701 for a family of four, which equates to less than $2,142 a month, $494 a week or $70 a day.

“Fascism: income inequality’s best friend.” It is this (growing) inequality that has caused so much anger and revolt. Trump, is not the problem, he is a symptom of inequality.

To all this, we must add that the presidents-elect, have been on the side of the billionaires. The Republicans, without contemplation, and the Democrats (not the case of Bernie Sanders and co.), also, but with more social vision.

They have not taken care of the millions of Americans who are mired in poverty, marginalization and hopelessness throughout the US. Well, along comes a lunatic with a radical, sincere (because he believes it), outspoken speech, and takes the duck to water.

And here comes the role of social networks, fake news, echo chambers, radicalization of the population, division of the population, hate speeches. Social networks have taken advantage of this situation, and have increased it exponentially, but they have not created this situation.

And because technology is politics, and this is demonstrated by the lobbies that all the technological giants have, and the brutal pressures they exert on governments and legislators, we see things like this, without anesthesia or shame.

Mark Zuckerberg said Trump is 'exactly the same in person as you'd expect him to be from the stuff that he says publicly'
Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/zuckerberg-says-trump-is-exactly-who-you-expect-2020-9?r=US&IR=T

But, as it turns out, workers at tech giants are setting up unions in protest. Issues such as digital ethics, or discriminations based on race or gender are part of their narrative.

Alphabet Workers Union

And they hold the companies that are part of the group they work for, such as Youtube, responsible for the growth of fascism in the US, and they have organized to protest against this, not only one day, but several times in the past, and they will do it so as many times as necessary.

In short, less talk about the symptoms, and let’s talk more about the underlying problems.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.