Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Richest 2 percent hold half world's assets

Common Dreams: "Personal wealth is distributed so unevenly across the world that the richest two per cent of adults own more than 50 per cent of the world’s assets while the poorest half hold only 1 per cent of wealth."

Understanding the gap between the rich and the rest of us is crucial to understanding why we are unhappy, unhealthy and bent on ecological self-destruction. In Slow Is Beautiful I talk about how the gap is the biggest indicator of the health of a nation. In the 1950s when the gap was smallest in the U.S., we led the world in healthiness. Today, with the gap the widest, we're dead last (pun unintended but acknowledged) among industrialized nations. Our life expectancy also is on the verge of falling. Next time you're in the market or a store, check out the condition of folks around you. Sometimes it seems we're walking around in a hospital emergency ward.

Slowing down is one of the few natural defenses we have against the ravages of consumerism and greed, but it takes conscious planning and persistence to accomplish. Put it on your New Year's Resolution list, in fact, don't even have a list. Just write "Slow Is Beautiful" at the top and look at it every day!

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