Here's a map of the median net worth per adult in different countries

The Swiss are the richest people on Earth, with median wealth per adult os $227,891. Haiti is the worst ($214). Howmuch.net created a map of the world that shows the median net worth per adult in different countries. The United States ranks 22nd, at $65,904. The world median wealth per adult is $7,087. Read the rest

The Porch of Doom: a Halloween haunt that sends visitors to a billionaires' Mars where they are expected to do all the dirty work

Pete Tridish and pals made a hell of a Hallowe'en haunt this year: on their "porch of doom," trick-or-treaters were sent to a Mars colonized by billionaires where they were expected to mine Mars rocks and put them in Amazon Mars boxes at a sweatshop Amazon Mars warehouse; Pete notes that the haunt was partly inspired by my 2011 young adult novella Martian Chronicles, which was recently podcast in two parts by the excellent Escape Pod podcast! Read the rest

With "OK boomer," millennials are killing intergenerational resentment

"OK boomer" is an all-purpose rejoinder for millennials and Gen Y/Zers who are accused by their elders of eating too much avocado toast, wanting a participation trophy, or of miscellaneous snowflaking. Read the rest

NJ school district bans indebted students from prom and field trips, refuses offer to pay off lunch debt

America has a food insecurity problem, and poor, hungry kids who can't pay their school cafeteria lunch debt are performatively ridiculed and humiliated by their schools. Despite this shaming, these kids parents refuse to stop being poor, and so schools are turning to desperate measures to provide the right incentives to these parents (meanwhile, kids from wealthy families are being offered front-of-the-line privileges in exchange for their parents' "donations"). Read the rest

The rich poop different: measuring inequality with sewage

In Social, demographic, and economic correlates of food and chemical consumption measured by wastewater-based epidemiology, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, a group of researchers in Australia and Norway present their analysis of a 2016 Australian sewage census, which sampled 22 waste-water treatment facilities and looked for 42 biomarkers. Read the rest

For the first time ever, taxes on the 400 richest Americans were lower than taxes on everyone else

In 2018, for the first time in recorded US history, the 400 richest American households paid a lower rate of tax than any other group of American taxpayers: 23%, down from 70% in 1950 and 47% in 1980. Read the rest

How the "Varsity Blues" admissions scam punished deserving, hard working kids so that mediocre kids of the super-rich could prosper

Propublica's latest longread is ostensibly a profile of two kids who attended Orange County's Sage Hill School, where tuition runs $40,000/year and where an estimated 25% of students get into elite colleges thanks to their parents shelling out for "independent counsellors" who run the gamut from people who help with admissions essays and strategic donations to the schools of their choice all the way up to William "Rick" Singer, who pleaded guilty to collecting millions to grease the path for mediocre rich kids to attend elite colleges by bribing coaches. Read the rest

IRS admits it audits poor people because auditing rich people is too expensive

Nine years ago, Republican lawmakers gutted the IRS's budget, but didn't relax its requirement to conduct random audits: in response, the IRS has shifted its focus from auditing rich people (who can afford fancy accountants to use dirty tricks to avoid paying taxes) to auditing poor people (who can't afford professional help and might make minor mistakes filling in the highly technical and complex tax forms), until today, an IRS audit is just as likely to target low-income earner whose meager pay entitles them to a tax credit is as it is to target a filer from the top one percent of US earners. Read the rest

Stock buybacks: how Wall Street has created "profits without prosperity"

For years, the Harvard Business School fellow William Lazonick has been writing about the rise of the "shareholder value" doctrine in capital markets, and how that has driven financial engineering tactics like stock buybacks, which allow shareholders (including top executives) to prosper at the expense of the companies they have invested in, siphoning value out of profitable businesses until they collapse. Read the rest

The median household income of each state in the USA

New US Census Bureau data shows that while the median household income for the United States (and 14 states within the USA) increased a bit from 2017 to 2018, "income inequality was significantly higher during the same period for the nation and nine states.... Maryland ($83,242) was among the states with the highest median household income and West Virginia ($44,097) was among the lowest."

More data and an interactive version of the map: "2018 Median Household Income in the United States" (Census.gov)

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Dynasties: in-depth reporting on the wealthy, influential political and corporate families that not-so-secretly rule Canada

The latest podcast from the Canadaland network (previously) is Dynasties, wherein host Arshy Mann delves into the scandals, backroom deals, and secret string-pulling employed by the "great families" of Canada, where wealth and political power have been gathered into just a few hands, all clinging tight to that power. Read the rest

Uber general counsel threatens California: pass a law that makes drivers into employees and we'll spend $60m on a ballot initiative to overturn it

AB5 is about to pass the California legislature: it forces companies like Lyft and Uber to comply with the longstanding Dynamex decision and treat their employees as employees. Read the rest

Thomas Piketty's new book uses data to trace how inequality changes ideology

French economist Thomas Piketty changed the world in 2014 with his magisterial Capital in the Twenty-First Century, a book that reported out an incredibly ambitious project to map out three centuries' worth of capital flows, and from that, to derive an empirical answer about whether markets are a machine for finding smart people and allocating capital to them so that they can invent things that make us all better off ("meritocracy"), or whether they simply make the people who happened to get rich (possibly by inventing something, more often by inheriting wealth or by being a sociopathic looter) even richer (spoiler: rg, which means that markets' long-run function is to increase inequality by allocating ever-larger pools of capital to rich people who don't do much that's socially beneficial with it). Read the rest

America's life-expectancy income-gap widens precipitously

For years, researchers have tracked the discrepancy in average life-expectancy predicted by income equality, and, as with the wealth gap itself, this life-expectancy gap just keeps getting wider. Read the rest

NYT calls for an end to legacy college admissions

In the wake of the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, a new debate opened up, about the mundane, everyday ways that wealthy people buy their way into elite institutions: from hiring, poorer, smarter kids to write their kids' essays, to surrendering custody of your kids in order to misappropriate low-income tuition grants, to simply "donating" shit-tons of money to the school. Read the rest

Robert Bork is the architect of the inequality crisis

If you know the name Robert Bork, it's probably in the context of his failure to secure Senate confirmation when Ronald Regan put him up for the Supreme Court (his sins from his days in the Nixon administration caught up to him). Read the rest

Having burnished their reputations with extravagant promises, the billionaires who pledged €600m. to rebuild Notre Dame are missing in action

Philanthropy is theoretically an expression of generosity and fellow-feeling, but in an increasingly unequal world, charitable giving is a form of reputation laundering for super-rich oligarchs who build their massive fortunes on savage programs of exploitation and immiseration. The idea is that you can paper over the fact that deliberately starting the opioid crisis made you richer than the Rockefellers by having your name plastered all over the world's leading art galleries and museums. Read the rest

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