And that ladies and gentlemen is what has transpired in both the UK and the USA during the last ten years. The wolves of Wall Street and the City have had their way and a bewildered population wonders what the fuck happened.
In the USA, for example, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom ninety percent became poorer.
Without question, the financially engineered Great Recession brought on the largest redistribution of wealth in a century.
As Peter Van Buren notes in his wonderful piece, "Why Don’t the Unemployed Get Off Their Couches?", last year eight Americans — the four Waltons of Walmart fame, the two Koch brothers, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett — made more money than 3.6 million American minimum-wage workers combined.
Moreover, the median pay for CEOs at America’s large corporations rose to $10 million per year, while a typical chief executive now makes about 257 times the average worker’s salary, up sharply from 181 times in 2009.
At the same time, the inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline.
Overall, 1% of Americans own more than a third of the country’s wealth.
According to Van Buren, none of this is accidental, some sort of invisible hand at work.
Importantly, by owning more of everything, rich people have a mechanism for getting ever richer than the rest of us, because the rate of return on investment is higher than the rate of economic growth.
In other words, money made from investments grows faster than money made from wages.
According to Thomas Piketty in his highly acclaimed book, Capital in the Twenty-first Century, the wealth of the wealthiest Americans is rising at 6%-7% a year, more than three times as fast as the economy the rest of us live in.
Let's face it, the economy is for chumps.
Guided by an invisible hand? Give me a fucking break. The latest figures on GDP, unemployment rates, and balance of trade are nothing more than statistical sleights of hand that distract the clueless while their collective pockets are being picked.
Forget trying to manipulate the levers of the economy in order to rev it up towards full employment. The very idea makes the laughing dick chuckle. Instead, focus on raising the minimum wage ,taxing capital gains, getting corporations to pay their taxes, and implementing a real wealth tax.
That would make even a laughing dick suddenly go limp.
*The stiff laughing prick image is from Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn.