27 October 2017   Leave a comment

The concentration of wealth in the world now mimics the degree of concentration in the early 20th Century and that dynamic is ushering in a Second Gilded Age.  According to The Guardian:

“The world’s super-rich hold the greatest concentration of wealth since the US Gilded Age at the turn of the 20th century, when families like the Carnegies, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts controlled vast fortunes.

“Billionaires increased their combined global wealth by almost a fifth last year to a record $6tn (£4.5tn) – more than twice the GDP of the UK. There are now 1,542 dollar billionaires across the world, after 145 multi-millionaires saw their wealth tick over into nine-zero fortunes last year”.

The First Gilded Age induced a strong political backlash against the wealthy, led primarily by journalists such as Ida Tarbell who were labeled “muckrakers”.  But the concentration of wealth in the early 20th century also created the conditions of underconsumption which ultimately led to the Great Depression.

Anti-Capitalism Poster of the Gilded Age

 

The Catalonian Parliament voted for independence and immediately thereafter the Spanish Government took control over the regional government.  The Spanish Senate easily passed legislation to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution which allows the central government “to remove the Catalan regional president, suspend his ministers and assume authority over the region’s public media, police and finances.”  The Catalonian vote to declare independence was 70-10, but 55 legislators refused to vote.  The large number of abstentions shows the deep ambivalence about independence which will undoubtedly factor into the decisions of both sides about their next moves.  The response of other European governments (and the US) was decidedly in favor of the Spanish government so it is unlikely that many states will recognize the newly declared independent state.

 

On he eve of US President Trump’s visit to China and other Asian states, China has strongly urged the US to deny Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen the right to transit US territory on her visit to Pacific states which recognize Taiwan as the Republic of China.  After the Chinese Revolution in 1949, the US supported Taiwan as the legitimate representative of the Chinese people, a policy that remained in force until 1972 when the US recognized the People’s Republic of China as the sole representative of the Chinese people.  Since 1972, the US has supported a “One China” policy, but has also maintained commercial and military relations with Taiwan.  China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and any limited recognition of Taiwan’s former diplomatic status is a profound insult to Beijing.   We will have to see if Mr. Trump makes the concession to Beijing by denying President Tsai transit rights over American territory.

Posted October 27, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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