The 99%

THE Occupy Movement started in New York in 2011 and quickly spread all over the world. An international protest movement, the protests were against the social and economic inequalities that plague the modern world. If we take a look at different parts the world, there is increasing presence of severe inequalities. These inequalities are leading to instability, chaos and frustration in different parts of the world.
An example of extreme inequality can be found in the Indian city of Mumbai. A city of more than 20 million people, it boasts the most expensive home in the world, Antilia. Owned by one of the richest men in the world, the house reportedly cost one billion dollars to be built. In sharp contrast, several million Mumbai residents live in slums. While one lives in extreme opulence, there are many who are just struggling to survive.
The Arab Spring started in Tunisia and, spread to many middle-eastern countries. Some of the factors behind these violent protests were food inflation, high unemployment and, poor living conditions. Most of these protestors were young men and women who valued freedom of speech and, political freedom. While many of these countries are oil-rich, they also suffer from inequality of wealth and, income. Specially, the young people in these countries suffer from high unemployment. This may have played an important role in galvanizing the protests that swept the Arab world.
Another example of income inequality can be seen with the manufacturer of iPhones. The very popular smart-phone is manufactured by a company called Foxconn. Most of its production facilities are in China that manufacture iPhones and iPod. Even though the iPhone has been very popular and, Foxconn is the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer, there have been allegations of poor working conditions and, cases of suicide among Foxconn employees. There have been reports of long working hours, poor working conditions and, insufficient overtime pay. The incidences of suicides among Foxconn employees have been linked to low pay. Foxconn responded by installing suicide-preventing nets at some factories and, promised to increase wages in some factories. Even though Foxconn is a very successful company and, its owner one of the richest men in the world (Terry Gou, the founder, is a billionaire), the employees have been subjected to harsh working conditions and, poor wages.
In January, there was a fire in an unlicensed garment factory in Bangladesh. Seven female workers died in that fire. This factory produced clothes for Spanish clothing giant Inditex and, other brands. The workers who worked in these factories made as little as $38 a month. On the other hand, the founder of Inditex, Amancio Ortega, is the third richest man in the world whose net worth is $57 billion. While the founder of Inditex clearly belongs to the top one per cent, these factory workers barely survived and, were at the bottom of the 99 per cent.
The above examples demonstrate the severe inequalities that exist in the world, between countries and, within countries. While it is important to reward talent and hard work for a society to progress, is it also possible to make a world where there is something for everybody, where the ninety-nine percent can have a minimum standard of living? Is it possible to build a world where the ninety-percent have access to health, education and, decent food and living conditions? Can we build a society that is more inclusive?


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