"Ill Fairs the Land," by Tony Judt, claims that many of our biggest social problems stem from wealth inequality: "Economic disadvantage for the overwhelming majority translates into ill health, missed educational opportunity, and -- increasingly -- the familiar symptoms of depression: alcoholism, obesity, gambling, and minor criminality." Fortune Magazine posits that wealth inequality stems from the middle class's inability to save adequately. Makes sense to me. Unlike income inequality, which we can blame on greedy heads of companies and unfair wage practices, including outsourcing jobs, wealth inequality is a whole-society level result of financial strain. Stagnant wages make saving next to impossible, and borrowing to fill the gap just exacerbates the problem.
[Disturbing note: the Walton family (Walmart, the face of the 1%) has more money than the poorest 40% of Americans combined. The poorest 40% are those two shades of blue left of the word "middle" in the graphic.]
So what do we do? Lots of wealthy people are contributing huge amounts to charity, which does help, but we minions and working stiffs don't have that option. Political activists are fighting for better wage legislation, but most of us aren't able to pack up and go storm the White House. Perhaps we can create businesses that cater to the rich for the benefit of the poor, in a Robin Hood sort of way. If legitimate businesses create fair-wage jobs, sell products to the affluent, and contribute profits to folks in need, we without fortunes CAN impact wealth inequality, each in our own small way.
This is the thinking behind Benefit Brownies. We'll see if it works. : )