Friday, November 20, 2009
Accumulation by dispossession: the rich are getting a lot richer whilst wealth declines for the rest of us
A recent analysis of the distribution of wealth in Australia undertaken by NATSEM confirms growing inequality in Australia. The richest 20% have 50 time more wealth than the poorest fifth and this differential is growing.
The NATSEM analysis found that wealth remains concentrated in the hands of a wealthy few and the minority of people at the high end of the income and wealth scale reaped the benefits of Australia's economic prosperity. The accumulation of wealth by the already wealthy has been at the expense at the other end of the income scale whose share of personal wealth has declined relative to high income earners.
Frank Stillwell and David Primrose have written a short piece on the findings here.
This trend reflects what David Harvey in his masterly book A Brief History of Neo-Liberalism describes as accumulation by dispossession- the ways that the wealthy are able too "dispossess" others of their assets. The corporate economic system now works so that wealth and money flow from the public purse and the less well off to the more well off.