Saturday, January 24, 2015

One Percent Owning More Wealth Than The Other Ninety-Nine Percent?

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The Guardian January 19

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Larry Elliott, economics editor, and Ed Pilkington The Guardian, Monday 19 January 2015

'New Oxfam report says half of global wealth held by the 1% Oxfam warns of widening inequality gap, days ahead of Davos economic summit in Switzerland'

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'Billionaires and politicians gathering in Switzerland this week will come under pressure to tackle rising inequality after a study found that – on current trends – by next year, 1% of the world’s population will own more wealth than the other 99%.'

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Ahead of this week’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in the ski resort of Davos, the anti-poverty charity Oxfam said it would use its high-profile role at the gathering to demand urgent action to narrow the gap between rich and poor. The charity’s research, published on Monday, shows that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the best-off 1% has increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014, while the least well-off 80% currently own just 5.5%. Oxfam added that on current trends the richest 1% would own more than 50% of the world’s wealth by 2016. 

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'Oxfam made headlines at Davos last year with a study showing that the 85 richest people on the planet have the same wealth as the poorest 50% (3.5 billion people). The charity said this year that the comparison was now even more stark, with just 80 people owning the same amount of wealth as more than 3.5 billion people, down from 388 in 2010.'

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Byanyima said: “Do we really want to live in a world where the 1% own more than the rest of us combined? The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering and despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast.”

Cited '• Introduce minimum wages and move towards a living wage for all workers.'

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'1% of the world’s population will own more wealth than the other 99%.'

Oxfam added that on current trends the richest 1% would own more than 50% of the world’s wealth by 2016.'

I was not clear initially in regard to the statistics when I heard the story online.

But seeing it in print it is assumed that 1% of the population will have more wealth than 99% of the population and own more than 50% of the wealth also.

'Byanyima said: “Do we really want to live in a world where the 1% own more than the rest of us combined?'

No, but as a Christian theologian and philosopher that is a moderate conservative, I also do not want socialistic large government non-solutions which damage economic and business growth and individual initiative.

I do not want to be under the excessive economic or political control of governments or corporations.

Or any human controlled religion.

'Cited '• Introduce minimum wages and move towards a living wage for all workers.''

I do agree with the concept of a 'living wage' or 'working person's wage. That being a wage within an economy by where a person can survive.

I have significant difficulty with corporations ethically placing fiduciary responsibility to shareholders above a living wage for employees.

Just because persons will work at a certain wage level, as in market value does not mean it is a living wage, but rather economics and other factors may pressure persons to accept the seemingly best deal possible and corporations should not use the economic argument that if someone will work at a certain wage then it is ethically acceptable, even if legal.

There needs to be other ethical and moral issues considered.

Corporations should put persons and their welfare, including a living wage for all employees above fiduciary responsibility to shareholders.

Biblically consider James

James 5:1-6

New American Standard Bible (NASB) Misuse of Riches

5 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! 4 Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of [a]Sabaoth. 5 You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have [b]fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and [c]put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you. 

Footnotes: James 5:4 I.e. Hosts James 5:5 Lit nourished James 5:6 Or murdered New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Wealth is not inherently wrong, but its misuse is...

Vox January 24

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'Be careful with that viral statistic about the top 1% owning half the world’s wealth Updated by Ezra Klein on January 22, 2015, 2:50 p.m. ET'

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'In recent days, there's been a startling statistic going around. The number comes from Oxfam, and warns that the combined wealth of the richest one percent will pass that of the other 99 percent next year, at least if current trends hold. The statistic has been reported in the Guardian, the New York Times, and FiveThirtyEight, among others. Even Hillary Clinton is using a version of it. But it doesn't mean quite what it looks like it means.'

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'To see the problem, here's another version of the same number: the combined wealth of my two nephews is already more than the bottom 30 percent of the world combined. And they don't have jobs, or inheritances. They just have a piggy bank and no debt. Oxfam presents the statistic, which is derived from data published in Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Databook (pdf), as a measure of wealth. But it's technically a measure of net worth: assets minus debts. As such, what it's picking up isn't just massive inequality in wealth, but also massive inequality in the ability to access credit. So for the purposes of Oxfam's calculation, a farmer in China's rural Sichuan province with no debt but also very little money is wealthier than an American who just graduated from medical school with substantial debt but also a hefty, six-figure income. By any sensible standard, the medical student is richer, but because her student debt still outweighs her financial assets, the net worth measure counts her as poorer than the Chinese peasant.'

But the author notes....

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'Update: My explanation of the the wealth distribution chart was confusing. So, to clarify, that chart mixes countries and continents, but I'm further breaking it down by country, which you can find on page 107 of the Databook. North America doesn't have the second-highest number of people in the bottom decile, but among countries, the US does.'

In closing there seems to be much speculation in regard to the statistics and economics, but one can be concerned about the wealth disparity, even from a moderate conservative perspective.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Paradise: Third Post

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The two previous related posts on the subject of Paradise

Paradise In the New Testament: December 1 2010

Paradise Revisited January 16 2013

I was listening Friday afternoon to an online Pastor. He stated basically the following view, although in the context of Luke 16, which I noted in the 2013 article:

Some scholars have concluded that since the remaining references to Paradise after Christ and the cross with Luke 23, refer to Heaven, followed by the resurrection and Christ's ascension, that Paradise has been removed from Hades...Kent (1996: 826).

The Pastor stated that the Hell section of Hades remains, although not the final place of judgment, that being the lake of fire (Revelation 20).

The implication being that Paradise was now non-existent in the New Testament context, replaced by Heaven.

What was not mentioned by the speaker was the view that Paradise has been removed from Hades and taken to the third heaven. Kent (1996: 826).

This appears Biblical in light of 2 Corinthians 12.

For fairness I will note that none of us presenting theological and Biblical works, unless presenting specific academic theses are presenting exhaustive works with articles and in the case of Pastors, sermons.

There is the issue of Paul's 2 Corinthians reference and his willingness to consider departing the body to be with the Lord in Philippians 1.

Erickson reasons that based on Biblical evidences the righteous in the intermediate state arrive at Paradise. Erickson (1994: 1183). The intensity of the condition of Paradise and Hades will not be as intense as the finalized states. Erickson (1994: 1183). This would be not only a reasonable theological and philosophical deduction based on the fact it is intermediate state and pre-final judgment (2 Corinthians 12 and Revelation 20 respectively) but also these are simply spiritual states and not spiritual/physical states. As Erickson notes the human condition is incomplete. Erickson (1994: 1183).

By my reasoning and speculation, Paradise could be a simulated spiritual realm like earth with simulated physicality.

Heaven and also Paradise could be one and the same perhaps with a new location after the resurrection of Christ.

The exact location is a rather irrelevant point as it is a spiritual realm and by my speculation, perhaps with simulated physicality.

The New Testament version of Paradise now featuring the presence of the Lord.

For the sake of argument, did the Old Testament version of Paradise never feature the Lord's presence?

This seemed to be the assumption of the Pastor.

Ephesians 4:7-10 is used by some scholars for possible support for Jesus Christ setting the Hebrew Bible Saint captives free:

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore [a]it says, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men.” 9 (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what [b]does it mean except that He also [c]had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)

Footnotes: Ephesians 4:8 Or He Ephesians 4:9 Lit is it except Ephesians 4:9 One early ms reads had first descended New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Based on Scripture I can see the theological reasoning that Paradise may have now been relocated so those within now fully experience the presence of the Lord in Paradise/Heaven.

But does not mean that the Lord was never experienced at all in Paradise previously?

This seems speculative and questionable.

Would it be Biblically Paradise without at least some divine communication?

ERICKSON, MILLARD (1994) Christian Theology, Grand Rapids, Baker Book House.

HUGHES, PHILIP, EDGCUMBE (1990) A Commentary On The Epistle To The Hebrews, Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

KENT H. A. (1996) ‘Paradise', in Walter A. Elwell (ed.), Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Grand Rapids, Baker Books.

MARSHALL, ALFRED (1975)(1996) The Interlinear KJV-NIV, Grand Rapids, Zondervan. 

STRONG, J. (1890)(1986) Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Pickering, Ontario, Welch Publishing Company.