The solution to global inequality is socialism! – working world

Around the world, billions of people are suffering incredible losses as a result of capitalism’s inability and unwillingness to seriously address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Millions of people lost their lives or loved ones. Families are homeless. Workers have been forced to choose between risking their health in minimum-wage jobs and feeding their families, with inflation steadily driving up the cost of food and other basic necessities.

The burden has been heaviest on the Global South, on people of color, on people with disabilities, on gig economy workers and on women, many of whom have been forced out of their jobs due to lack of childcare and other essential supports.

Yet for 10 white men, the pandemic has brought windfall benefits of epic proportions. Their collective wealth has more than doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching $1.5 trillion. While inequality, exacerbated by the pandemic, leads to the death of at least 21,000 people worldwide every day – about one person every four seconds – these ultra-billionaires are now collectively enriching themselves by $ 1.2 billion every day who passed.

These statistics were published in a report by Oxfam International in early January. “Billionaires have had a terrible pandemic,” said Oxfam International executive director Gabriela Bucher. “Central banks pumped trillions of dollars into financial markets to save the economy, but much of that money ended up lining the pockets of billionaires in the midst of a stock market boom.”

According to Oxfam – and we fully agree: “An economic system that allows a handful of individuals to amass such vast fortunes, while billions go hungry and without proper medical care during a pandemic, is a manifest act of economic violence aimed at huge swathes of humanity.”

Where we differ from Oxfam is in the solution.

Oxfam is calling for a “wealth tax” as a way to redistribute wealth. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it doesn’t fix the systemic problem. The superbillionaires will do what they have always done: pass the costs of higher taxes onto consumers through price increases and onto workers through lower wages and benefits.

The wealth of these ten CEOs — Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Elon Musk (Tesla), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Larry Page (Google), Sergey Brin (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway), Larry Ellison (Oracle) and French businessman Bernard Arnault – was not based on their tax evasion – although it contributed to it.

The real source of their wealth comes from their over-exploitation of the collective labor of their workers. It’s highly unlikely that Jeff Bezos has ever hoisted a heavy box through one of his competing Amazon warehouses with a robot. Or that Elon Musk ever worked on a Tesla assembly line. Yet they both got super rich by exploiting the labor of the workers doing those jobs.

Reclaim the wealth we have produced!

Redistribution of wealth only comes from organized workers reclaiming the wealth they have collectively created – the wealth stolen from them by the bosses. While a wealth tax is expected to remain on the table, President Joe Biden signing an executive order to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act would go much further in addressing income inequality.

The solution needed right now is broad and intense support for the organizing efforts of workers at Amazon, Starbucks and many other companies large and small.

Workers must demand free health care; cancellation of student loan debt; a universal, global and decent minimum wage; the guaranteed right to organize; and much more. The Workers World Party supports struggles for all of these traditional demands.

But to truly fight income inequality, our fight must be for socialism, in which the means of production are collectively owned by working people and oppressed – where these ultra-wealthy CEOs should actually put in an honest day’s work to once in their life.