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Gar Alperovitz: The Next American Revolution (TRAILER)

While there's been no shortage of commentary about the structural crisis plaguing the American economic and political system, from wage stagnation and chronic unemployment to unchecked corporate and state power and growing inequality, analyses that offer practical, politically viable solutions to these problems have been few and far between. This illustrated presentation from distinguished historian and political economist Gar Alperovitz is a rare and stunning exception. Pointing to efforts already under way in thousands of communities across the U.S., from co-ops and community land trusts to municipal, state, and federal initiatives that promote entrepreneurship and sustainability, Alperovitz marshals years of research to show how bottom-up strategies can work to check monopolistic corporate power, democratize wealth, and empower communities. The result is a highly accessible look at the current economy and a common-sense roadmap for building a system more in sync with American values.

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Advocating a Wealth Threshold
There is a poverty threshold, but how about a wealth threshold to save democracy, economic stability, the environment, cultural diversity, and much more!
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Resolving the Economic Dilemma

Resolving the Economic Dilemma | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

A social dilemma occurs when everyone doing what a social system expects them to do causes it to collapse. In other words, what causes the breakdown is the way the system itself is structured.

Today's predominant brand of industrial capitalism, with its unbridled accumulation, is one such dilemma. Unchecked 'free' market competition leads to the concentration of ever more resources in fewer and fewer hands, and the ensuing dynamics increasingly stress the system until it snaps.

Capitalism itself, which in essence only means private ownership of the means of production, is not the issue here. What is being questioned is a system that enables an individual or corporation to accumulate so much wealth and power that they not only significantly influence the market, but also sway the policies, laws, conscience, and monetary systems of entire national governments in their favor. This is what needs to be checked by setting wealth thresholds beyond which there can be no passing.

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The best of capitalism is over for rich countries – and for the poor ones it will be over by 2060

The best of capitalism is over for rich countries – and for the poor ones it will be over by 2060 | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

The OECD's prescription – more globalisation, more privatisation, more austerity, more migration and a wealth tax if you can pull it off – will carry weight. But not with everybody. The ultimate lesson from the report is that, sooner or later, an alternative programme to "more of the same" will emerge. Because populations armed with smartphones, and an increased sense of their human rights, will not accept a future of high inequality and low growth.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

This is what will happen if we don't change our socio-political-economic paradigm soon. What are we waiting for?

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Amazon.com: The Price of Inequality eBook: Joseph Stiglitz: Kindle Store

Amazon.com: The Price of Inequality eBook: Joseph Stiglitz: Kindle Store | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

In this timely book, Joseph Stiglitz identifies three major causes of our predicament: that markets don't work the way they are supposed to (being neither efficient nor stable); how political systems fail to correct the shortcomings of the market; and how our current economic and political systems are fundamentally unfair. He focuses chiefly on the gross inequality to which these systems give rise, but also explains how inextricably interlinked they are. Providing evidence that investment - not austerity - is vital for productivity, and offering realistic solutions for levelling the playing field and increasing social mobility, Stiglitz argues that reform of our economic and political systems is not just fairer, but is the only way to make markets work as they really should.

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Why good leaders make you feel safe

Why good leaders make you feel safe | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
What makes a great leader? Management theorist Simon Sinek suggests, it’s someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust. But creating trust and safety — especially in an uneven economy — means taking on big responsibility.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

We evolved within communities of loving, caring, compassion, empathy, cooperation, mutual trust and support, and self-sacrifice for each other, which kept us safe from the dangers outside. Let us now tap into that innate human capacity, to create a new world of loving, caring, compassion, empathy, cooperation, mutual trust and support, and self-sacrifice for each other.

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Here’s an unlikely bestseller: A 700-page book on 21st century economics

Here’s an unlikely bestseller: A 700-page book on 21st century economics | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

The book argues that the underlying mechanisms of capitalism tend towards massive inequality. Piketty argues that the era between 1930 and 1975 -- often hailed for the way in which wealth was broadly shared -- was actually a departure from the norm. That period of economic growth, he says, was the result of unusual circumstances like World War II, a global depression and the government's actions in the aftermath of those events: strong policies raising taxes and increasing regulation. But now, with many of those policies rolled back, societies are reverting back to extreme inequality.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

A best-seller 700 page non-fiction book on economics? Sounds like the world is really waking up to the fact that there is a problem and is looking for answers!

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The Next American Revolution - YouTube

"Capitalism, in its current form, no longer fits the world around us." (Klaus Schwab - Founder World Economic Forum)

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Capitalism really only means private ownership of the means of production. In order for this to work, that ownership must be in moderation. In its present form of unchecked growth, it has become like a cancer to society. 

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Inequality and Philanthropy: part of the solution or part of the problem?

Inequality and Philanthropy: part of the solution or part of the problem? | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

"Oxfam put out a media briefing this week ahead of the Budget announcement which grabbed a lot of headlines. It was based on a report (A Tale of Two Britains) which highlights the growing issue of income inequality in the UK, with the “killer fact” that five families in the UK now own more wealth than the poorest 20% of the population put together (roughly 12.6 million people).

 

This is basically a stark reworking of the “1% of the world’s population own 50% of the wealth” statistic that underpinned the whole Occupy movement, and seems to have been successful in putting the wider issue of inequality at the front of people’s minds as the standard annual drip-feed of stories about giveaways and tax tinkering gathers pace in the run up to the Budget."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

While philanthropy has done and can do a lot of good, as a means to pacify the masses into accepting a grossly unjust, unstable, unsustainable economic system, it is not helping us find the real answers we urgently need. It is like taking a cold medicine that temporarily relieves symptoms while hampering the diagnosis of an underlying deadly disease.

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Why Income Inequality Is Going to Get Catastrophically Worse

Why Income Inequality Is Going to Get Catastrophically Worse | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Inequality is endemic to the core structure of an America that operates more as a plutocracy than a democracy.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

We need to start seeing rampant, unchecked accumulation as a socioeconomic and political cancer, rather than as an inevitable outcome of today's brand of financial capitalism. Only then can the political, economic and social will be generated to put into place measures to first curb and then reverse the growth of this cancer, in order to stabilize the economy and reorient its goals  towards human development, bringing true liberty, justice and prosperity for all.

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The 3 agencies with the power to make or break economies

The 3 agencies with the power to make or break economies | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
The way we rate national economies is all wrong, says rating agency reformer Annette Heuser. With mysterious and obscure methods, three private US-based credit rating agencies wield immense power over national economies across the globe, and the outcomes can be catastrophic. But what if there was another way? In this bold talk, Heuser shares her vision for a non-profit agency that would bring more equality and justice into the mix.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

De-concentrating the market power of these rating companies is an essential positive step towards developing a truly transparent, competitive global market, free from monopolies and oligopolies. 

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How America chose inequality | Josh Eidelson

How America chose inequality | Josh Eidelson | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

Inequality was no accident, and the president's new focus on "opportunity" is a mistake, a leading economist says:

"I think there’s been a much better consciousness of the broader social costs of inequality. It’s very divisive. It creates a lot of political problems. It’s not just, you know, some sideshow. I mean, it’s a real core issue about fairness, and how people understand and identify with their society…"

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

We tend to think of promoting equality as mere redistribution -- leveling off the playing field under the current rules of the game. However, what is needed is to actually change the rules of the game, to encourage people to concentrate on more important aspects of the economy than just making more millions as an end in itself. As Eidelson says: " If we had taxes that made it less important to make the extra million dollars... people might focus on other things, and do other stuff…". So instead of merely reactive policies, we should be thinking about what those "other things" are, and how to foster them proactively in our economy.

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La Corporación (The Corporation) en español

"'The Corporation' es un documental dirigido por Mark Achbar y Jennifer Abbott que durante dos horas y cincuenta y tres minutos se interna en el mundo empresarial psicopático. Está basado en el libro con el título 'La Corporación, la persecución patológica del beneficio y el poder', de Joel Bakan. Con entrevistas realizadas tanto a ejecutivos de multinacionales, brokers de bolsa, espías industriales, así como a activistas y pensadores contra la globalización (Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein y Michael Moore, entre otros) se analiza el comportamiento de las multinacionales. Todo adornado con imágenes de anuncios y noticias de la televisión y videos promocionales de las empresas. La linea argumental consiste en dar por válida la hipótesis legal por la cual una empresa es "una persona" con derechos y obligaciones. Si es así la película se adentra en su comportamiento, su conducta y sus deseos. Amoral, única y exclusivamente motivada por la búsqueda del beneficio propio, no obstante busca la autojustificación y dar una cara humana. Sometiendole a un test psiquiátrico propuesto por la Organización Mundial de la Salud, Joel Bakan demuestra que "La Corporación" responde al perfil de un psicópata, y para testificarlo entrevistan a un alto cargo del FBI especializado en Psicópatas. La película, entre otros premios, ganó el de la audiencia al mejor documental en el festival de cine de Sundance, al que por premura no se presentó, pero fue invitada especialmente y aclamada por el público. A partir de este premio, el autor decidió distribuir libremente la serie por las redes de pares."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Una excelente explicación del cómo y por qué la "Corporación" fue creada para proteger los "intereses" de los super-adinerados, así como el cómo y por qué la legislación que la rige debe ser reformada.

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concentrations of wealth

concentrations of wealth | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

"A recent study by Oxfam provided some striking data regarding growing disparities of wealth and poverty within and between countries around the globe: 50% of the world’s wealth is now owned by 1% of the population...

 

These trends cannot be reversed merely through popular mobilization within current political structures.  They will only be truly reversed when the organizing logic of interest-group competition is replaced with a new structural logic, derived from consciousness of the oneness of humanity — or recognition of the organic unity and interdependence of the entire social body.

 

It is, therefore, toward the cultivation of this consciousness, and the construction of new models of governance that are coherent with it, that we need to bend our energies in the long-term, if we hope to truly reverse the deeply troubling trends identified in the Oxfam report."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

We also need to ask whether our assumptions regarding the nature of human beings and their society will admit the restructuring that is required.

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Why those who give part of their wealth in charity get wealthier

Why those who give part of their wealth in charity get wealthier | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Benefits of Benevolence:

 

You experience enhanced degree of confidence.You get a larger perspective of life.You start to like openness.You become more dignified and graceful.You overcome greed.You are more at peace with self.You acquire empathy.
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The age of entitlement: how wealth breeds narcissism

The age of entitlement: how wealth breeds narcissism | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Anne Manne: As people get richer, they are more likely to feel entitled, to exploit others, and to cheat. That extends to politics too
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Extreme wealth is bad for everybody, not only the poor, but also the wealthy. How can we restructure the economy in such a way that it does not hurt both extremes but works for everyone?

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The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone

The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

Why do we mistrust people more in the UK than in Japan? Why do Americans have higher rates of teenage pregnancy than the French? What makes the Swedish thinner than the Greeks? The answer: inequality.


This groundbreaking book, based on years of research, provides hard evidence to show:

- How almost everything - from life expectancy to depression levels, violence to illiteracy - is affected not by how wealthy a society is, but how equal it is

- That societies with a bigger gap between rich and poor are bad for everyone in them - including the well-off

- How we can find positive solutions and move towards a happier, fairer future

 

Urgent, provocative and genuinely uplifting, The Spirit Level has been heralded as providing a new way of thinking about ourselves and our communities, and could change the way you see the world.

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The Doom Loop of Oligarchy

The Doom Loop of Oligarchy | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

"In the year's scariest economics book, Thomas Piketty argues that capitalism, left unchecked, subverts democracy by always and everywhere concentrating wealth at the tippy-top. That creates a class with so much economic power that they begin wielding tremendous political power, too. And then they use that political power to further increase their wealth, and then they use that wealth to further increase their political power, and so on. You might call this the Doom Loop of Oligarchy: wealth buys power, which buys more wealth. You can see it playing out over the last two weeks in American politics."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

If the United States is serious about becoming a true democracy, in contrast to its current status as an oligarchy (according to recent Stanford research), it must address its soaring economic inequality and eliminate both extreme poverty and extreme wealth. There are many measures that can be taken towards this end, one of which is to remove the structures that make political power subject to extreme wealth. Dollars must not have more voting power than people.

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How to rob a bank (from the inside, that is)

How to rob a bank (from the inside, that is) | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
William Black is a former bank regulator who’s seen firsthand how banking systems can be used to commit fraud — and how “liar's loans” and other tricky tactics led to the 2008 US banking crisis that threatened the international economy. In this engaging talk, Black, now an academic, reveals the best way to rob a bank — from the inside.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

A brilliant, tongue-in-cheek explanation of one of the many fraudulent ways in which extreme wealth is accrued, and what to do about it.

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Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy

Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

"American democracy is a sham, no matter how much it's pumped by the oligarchs who run the country (and who control the nation's "news" media)," he writes. "The US, in other words, is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious 'electoral' 'democratic' countries. We weren't formerly, but we clearly are now."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Ok, folks, it's official. No more dilly-dallying around saying it ain't true and making up excuses. No more imposing it on the rest of the world. Time to get to work changing things. Now.

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We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim

We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
There is a corruption at the heart of American politics, caused by the dependence of Congressional candidates on funding from the tiniest percentage of citizens. That's the argument at the core of this blistering talk by legal scholar Lawrence Lessig. With rapid-fire visuals, he shows how the funding process weakens the Republic in the most fundamental way, and issues a rallying bipartisan cry that will resonate with many in the U.S. and beyond.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

This is one very important way to return wealth to the service of human well-being: divorcing political power from economic power.

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My wish: To launch a new era of openness in business

My wish: To launch a new era of openness in business | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Anonymous companies protect corrupt individuals – from notorious drug cartel leaders to nefarious arms dealers – behind a shroud of mystery that makes it almost impossible to find and hold them responsible. But anti-corruption activist Charmian Gooch hopes to change all that. At TED2014, she shares her brave TED Prize wish: to know who owns and controls companies, to change the law, and to launch a new era of openness in business.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

This is a very important part of the effort needed to eliminate the extremes of both wealth and poverty.

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We need money for aid. So let’s print it.

We need money for aid. So let’s print it. | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
During the financial crisis, the central banks of the United States, United Kingdom and Japan created $3.7 trillion in order to buy assets and encourage investors to do the same. Michael Metcalfe offers a shocking idea: could these same central banks print money to ensure they stay on track with their goals for global aid? Without risking inflation?
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Wow! Innovative thinking based on solid reasoning should really be listened to and explored more deeply. But, are we serious enough about socioeconomic  justice to find the political will to carry this out? Or is the "we are helping the poor" discourse just a pretty whitewash for today's globally corrupt, plutocratic, anticompetitive political-economic system? Let us bear in mind that since that discourse was born in 1945 with the Marshal Plan, global resources have become more highly concentrated, the poor have become poorer and the rich have become richer -- at an astronomical rate.

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What The The Great Gatsby Teaches You About America In 1 Chart

What The The Great Gatsby Teaches You About America In 1 Chart | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

"The Great Gatsby curve is just one of the many consequences of rising income inequality in America. The International Monetary Fund found that reducing income inequality could prolong periods of economic growth. And Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz argued in a New York Times op-ed that income inequality is holding back America’s recovery."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

There are several other sites discussing the implications of the Gatsby curve and related measurements. Food for thought...

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Christophe CESETTI's curator insight, February 1, 10:11 AM

Pearltree "Bienfaits de l'égalité Méfaits de l'inégalité"

Claude Emond's curator insight, February 9, 10:04 AM

Pretty hard to participate to the Collective Intelligence revolution when you have less and less economic means

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The Corporation : The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power

"The Corporation is a 2003 Canadian documentary film written by University of British Columbia law professor Joel Bakan, and directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. The documentary examines the modern-day corporation. This is explored through specific examples. Bakan wrote the book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, during the filming of the documentary.
The documentary shows the development of the contemporary business corporation, from a legal entity that originated as a government-chartered institution meant to affect specific public functions, to the rise of the modern commercial institution entitled to most of the legal rights of a person. The documentary concentrates mostly upon North American corporations, especially those of the United States. One theme is its assessment as a "personality", as a result of an 1886 case in the United States Supreme Court in which a statement by Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite[nb 1] led to corporations as "persons" having the same rights as human beings, based on the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

"Topics addressed include the Business Plot, where in 1933, General Smedley Butler exposed an alleged corporate plot against then U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt; the tragedy of the commons; Dwight D. Eisenhower's warning people to beware of the rising military-industrial complex; economic externalities; suppression of an investigative news story about Bovine Growth Hormone on a Fox News Channel affiliate television station at the behest of Monsanto; the invention of the soft drink Fanta by the Coca-Cola Company due to the trade embargo on Nazi Germany; the alleged role of IBM in the Nazi holocaust (see IBM and the Holocaust); the Cochabamba protests of 2000 brought on by the privatization of a municipal water supply in Bolivia; and in general themes of corporate social responsibility, the notion of limited liability, the corporation as a psychopath, and the corporation as a person.
Through vignettes and interviews, The Corporation examines and criticizes corporate business practices. The film's assessment is effected via the diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV; Robert D. Hare, a University of British Columbia psychology professor and a consultant to the FBI, compares the profile of the contemporary profitable business corporation to that of a clinically diagnosed psychopath (however, Hare has objected to the manner in which his views are portrayed in the film; see "critical reception" below). The Corporation attempts to compare the way corporations are systematically compelled to behave with what it claims are the DSM-IV's symptoms of psychopathy, e.g. callous disregard for the feelings of other people, the incapacity to maintain human relationships, reckless disregard for the safety of others, deceitfulness (continual lying to deceive for profit), the incapacity to experience guilt, and the failure to conform to social norms and respect the law. However, the DSM has never included a psychopathy diagnosis, rather proposing antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) with the DSM-IV. ASPD and psychopathy, while sharing some diagnostic criteria, are not synonymous."

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NEW MILLIONAIRES - HOW ARE THEY MAKING THEIR MONEY (Documentary) Finance/Education - YouTube

NEW MILLIONAIRES - HOW THEY MAKING THEIR MONEY (Documentary) Finance/Education
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Yet another analysis of how and why the last economic melt-down occurred, from a short-term perspective. On the long term, the reason is simpler - today's win-lose economic/financial system generates "social dilemmas", meaning a situation in which, when enough people act according to the inner logic of the system, they make it collapse. The only solution to a "social dilemma" is to re-engineer the system as a win-win game. Setting a wealth threshhold is a key part of doing this.

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Spotlight on Worldwide Inequality

Spotlight on Worldwide Inequality | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
The disparity between the wealthy minority and the billions living in suffocating poverty is greater than it has ever been.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

The extreme dualities of poverty and wealth inevitably create the vulnerable and the powerful, the abuser and the abused. There are wide ranging consequences of such social division, foremost being the erosion or denial of democracy. With money comes power and with power comes political influence, making it inevitable that “inequality reinforces itself by corroding our political system and our democratic governance,” as Stiglitz says. 

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WORKING FOR THE FEW - Political capture and economic inequality

The impact of political capture is striking. Rich and poor countries alike are affected. Financial deregulation, skewed tax systems and rules facilitating evasion, austerity economics, policies that disproportionately harm women, and captured oil and mineral revenues are all examples given in this paper. The short cases included are each intended to offer a sense of how political capture produces ill-gotten wealth, which perpetuates economic inequality.


This dangerous trend can be reversed. The good news is that there are clear examples of success, both historical and current. The US and Europe in the three decades after World War II reduced inequality while growing prosperous. Latin America has significantly reduced inequality in the last decade – through more progressive taxation, public services, social protection and decent work. Central to this progress has been popular politics that represent the majority, instead of being captured by a tiny minority. This has benefited all, both rich and poor.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Those gathered at Davos for the World Economic Forum have the power to turn around the rapid increase in inequality. Oxfam is calling on them to pledge that they will:
• Not dodge taxes in their own countries or in countries where they invest and operate, by using tax havens;
• Not use their economic wealth to seek political favors that undermine the democratic will of their fellow citizens;
• Make public all the investments in companies and trusts for which they are the ultimate beneficial owners;
• Support progressive taxation on wealth and income;
• Challenge governments to use their tax revenue to provide universal healthcare, education and social protection for citizens;
• Demand a living wage in all the companies they own or control;
• Challenge other economic elites to join them in these pledges.

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