While reading through a 1967 college text on Today’s ISMs by William Ebenstein, I came across this statement on wealth distribution in America as of 1953:
… the top 3 per cent [sic] owned 33 per cent [sic] of all wealth, and the top 10 per cent [sic] owned 56 per cent [sic].
This was contrasted with Britain in 1953, where,
… the top 3 per cent [sic] owned 49 per cent [sic] of all wealth, and the top 10 per cent [sic] owned 76 per cent [sic].
This is a limited comparison, but America didn’t appear as plutocratic as Britain back then.
So, how is America’s wealth distributed today?
According to an article by Professor G. William Domhoff of UCSC, in 2007, the top 1 percent owned 43 percent of financial wealth and the top 10 percent owned 83 percent. In other words, the middle class and poor own only 17 percent of the nation’s wealth. This is a huge drop from the 44 percent those same citizens owned in 1953.
Notice also that the top group for 2007 has been narrowed by two percent and that the percent of wealth for this smaller group is ten percent greater than for the larger 1953 group. We are now a plutocracy.
What makes this transfer in America’s wealth distribution even more remarkable is the 1967 college text’s context for the 1953 numbers.
The chapter title is “Democratic Capitalism.” The subsection of the chapter where these wealth numbers were stated is titled “Why socialism has not spread in the United States.” Within that subsection, the following text was provided by the author:
The basic reason [for socialism not spreading] lies in the fact that American capitalism – more than any other economic system in the world – has given to the people now much of what socialism promises them for the future. Specifically, socialism bases it appeal on two main promises: (1) social equality and (2) the abolition of poverty. Although no one will argue that American capitalism has lived up to 100 per cent [sic] to these two principles, it must have done so to a very large extent, since socialist propaganda so far has had little effect.
Well, that was written in 1967 and America has changed – American capitalism is failing the vast majority of it’s citizens. Those citizens who claim to be capitalism’s biggest supporters can’t see the growing plutocracy. They are the conservatives without conscience, which includes most Republicans, Blue Dog Dems, Tea Party members, and Libertarians.