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Friday, August 26, 2016

Complex global societal tragedy of wealth and want—symptom trafficked-refugee death on a road

Complex tragedies of wealth and want presage latest tragedy but latest not cause of crisis
Editing and Commentary by Carolyn LaDelle Bennett

The current Deutsche Welle documentary of human trafficking and refugee death (“Asphyxiated on the Highway: The End of a 
Deutsche Welle Documentary
“Asphyxiated on the Highway:
The End of a Desperate Journey”
Desperate Journey”) is horrific. But the blame and indeed the solutions neither begin nor end solely with trafficking, traffickers and deaths of refugees. Arrests, trials and imprisonment, though required by law (except for the well-heeled), fail to solve underlying structural problems. War and unrest and want create refugees and asylum seekers, and also create those who exploit and profit from forced migration and the misery of displaced peoples across the world. The DW documentary reports that on a highway in Austria on August 27, 2015, police found “71 corpses [suffocated refugees] in a small truck, some already in a state of advanced decomposition.” The refugees were finally identified as having come from the countries where Western wars are being waged and have been for years—“Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and Iraq.” Investigative journalists researched the network of human traffickers, interviewed lawyers and investigators for a film that reconstructs the flight of the refugees.

his tragedy of human trafficking and death, happening again and again beyond and occasionally in the news, such as this compelling Deutsche Welle documentary, rests with leaders of world powers, West and East, nuclear powers' leaders’ wars and their domestic and international priorities and policies; it rests with plunderers, robbers, the super rich, and countries’ leadership, officials whose corruption lets stand the oppressive status quo.

Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the world’s population. $110 trillion—65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population—constitutes the wealth of the one percent richest people in the world. The richest 85 people in the world hold all of what equals to the wealth-holding of all people in the bottom half of the world’s population. Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality increased in 30 years preceding a 2013 Credit Suisse Research Global Wealth Report. Since 2009, the United States’ wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth while the bottom 90 percent became poorer. 

e can feign outrage or actually be outraged by the current state of affairs but real or pretended outrage doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when common sense tells us that poverty need not “always be with us”—that was peddled propaganda and otherwise expedient, flawed reasoning. Anyone with common sense knows that when ordinate power, their interminable wars, dominance and plunder, their criminal impunity create and sustain poverty—when this critical causation is pervasive and persistent—the consequence is inevitable, interminable poverty. And from conditions of interminable want, poverty, conflict, destabilization, victimization—looking up from scrubbing the floors and toilets of inordinate wealth—rise desperate acts (piracy, smuggling in people, animals, and in inanimate objects of all kinds) to get out from under the arm of oppression, to gain some measure of self-respect and not opulence but the basics of a decent livelihood and living.  
In the United States and across the world, Oxfam warns, “When wealth captures government policy making, the rules bend to favor the rich, often to the detriment of everyone else.  The consequences include the erosion of democratic governance, the pulling apart of social cohesion, and the vanishing of equal opportunities for all. 

 “Unless bold political solutions are instituted to curb the influence of wealth on politics, governments will work for the interests of the rich, while economic and political inequalities continue to rise.”

Sources and notes

DW documentary “Asphyxiated on the Highway - The End of a Desperate Journey” August 25, 2016, broadcast dates August 26-27; September 8-9, 2016 and archived.  http://www.dw.com/en/documentaries-asphyxiated-on-the-highway-2016-08-25/e-19457567-9798

OXFAM Briefing Paper 178 Working for the Few: Political capture and economic inequality, a paper written by Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva and Nick Galasso, production assistance by Natalia Alonso, Ana Arendar, Teresa Cavero, Anna Coryndon, Kimberly Pfeifer and Max Lawson; part of a series of papers written to inform public debate on development and humanitarian policy issues. Oxfam International January 2014 copyrighted publication “but the text may be used free of charge for the purposes of advocacy, campaigning, education, and research, provided that the source is acknowledged in full.” policyandpractice@oxfam.org.uk information correct at the time publication goes to press; published by Oxfam GB for Oxfam International under ISBN 978-1-78077-540-1 in January 2014. Oxfam GB, Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2JY, UK, www.oxfam.org

Research Institute: Thought leadership from Credit Suisse Research and the world’s foremost experts October 2013 Global Wealth Global Wealth Report: 
“…Global household wealth equates to USD 51,600 per adult, a new all-time high for average net worth [but] this average global value masks considerable variation across countries and regions. The richest nations, with wealth per adult over USD 100,000, are found in North America, Western Europe, and among the rich Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern countries.… Wealth varies greatly across individuals” but this reports estimates that “the lower half of the global population possesses barely 1 percent of global wealth… The richest 10 percent of adults own 86 percent of all wealth….The top 1 percent account for 46 percent of the total wealth.”
Wealthy nations [though within these nations there is dire want]: USA, Japan, China, India, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Australia, South Africa, Chile, Brazil, and Canada

Blog Author

A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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