America’s wealth inequality and how it’s related to how and where you shop

According to a recent study, 9 out of 10 Americans believe the wealth of this country should be distributed like this:

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Ideal wealth distribution

The ones who work hard deserve to have more than the ones who don’t. And it’s ok that a few of us have quite a bit more than others; that’s the incentive to strive for the “American Dream”. Yet, people say that the wealth must be distributed in such a way, that everyone can make a living and sustain a healthy life for themselves and their families.

The reality of the situation is quite different. 1% of the population in the USA owns 40% of the country’s wealth. That means that the richest 1% has a whopping 21.6 trillion dollars. Here’s what the graph of America’s wealth looks like in reality:

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Actual wealth distribution

So who do we find lurking among the richest 1%? Well, to name a few, we’ve got the Walton Family of Wal-Mart, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, cool folks like Bill Gates and Elon Musk, many dot com founders, the owners of food corporations like Mars, quite a few investment and hedge-fund bankers and last but not least, not so cool people like the Koch Brothers (oil and gas moguls working hard to kill the planet while getting richer) and Donald Trump.

Using statistics is a great way to create awareness, but it shouldn’t just amount to a shoulder shrug and depressed thoughts of what a terrible, “unfair” world we live in. It needs to do more than that. Don’t use it to get mad and blame the branches of government for not doing the “right thing” either; what’s past is past. Instead, use it as inspiration to make a personal change.

Ask yourself; what can I do to help correct this injustice?

In addition to using your right to vote and help climate-friendly Mr. Sanders (the only candidate not in cahoots with the 1%) win the nomination AND election this year, there are actually a few easy things you can do and start doing right now!

1. Shop Small.

What does it mean to shop small? Essentially what it means is to make your purchases at locally owned shops and eat at local eateries. That’s your neighborhood coffee shop, the mom and pop down the street, the farmers market, the vintage shop.

When you shop small instead of shopping big (at for example Wal-Mart, Target, Gap or Macy’s), you are supporting a tax-paying, local businessman or woman, not a multi-billion-dollar corporation. In order words, you are spreading the riches more evenly across the board, and pumping money into your local economy.

2. Buy Made in USA.

When you support locally-made, you are encouraging businesses to bring manufacturing back to where you live (from far away). Manufacturing jobs can make a big difference, as they are an important part in supplying the large lower and middle-class with stabile, safe, above-minimum-income jobs. The more we manufacture here – the more people we can employ.

In order to make themselves richer, the billionaire owners and CEOs of large companies generally outsource all manufacturing of products to Asia, never admitting that by doing so, they’re deliberately making their home country poorer. In the long run, making a country poorer means that the masses have to keep relying on “cheap” imported goods, as that’s all they can afford, allowing the corporations to keep importing since (obviously) that’s what the “people want”. See that vicious circle?

In short, it’s terrible for our economy and our people and it keeps some of the 1% way ahead of the rest. (As for the people overseas manufacturing these items as “cheaply as possible”, it’s not good for them either. If nobody stands up and stops supporting the businesses they un-ethically produce for, they have no hope for better working conditions.) Buying local does make a difference.

3. Don’t ever buy something you don’t need on a high interest credit card.

Every time you shop on your credit card for such high amounts that you cannot afford to pay it off the next month and instead end up paying interest, you are making some of the top 1% richer. The banks and their investors use that money to make themselves another not-so-hard-earned buck.

I’m not saying not to have a mortgage, a car or replace your broken dishwasher, I’m just saying; don’t buy another Chinese sweat-shop-made Coach purse on your credit card.

It’s not that hard is it? We all have the power to make a positive change. Be smart, place your vote and shop local.

If you want more information about this topic, you can watch the short and detailed video about the Wealth Inequality in America (that inspired this post) here. Find a list of America’s richest here (just for fun) and watch a movie about the Koch’s and their dirty business here.

PS. If you are one of the 1% and you’re reading this – great!  I’m happy to see that you’ve found my blog and obviously have taken an interest in ethical fashion, conscious consumption and sustainability; that’s really unusual for your kind. I have a lot of ideas I’d love to discuss with you. Leave me a comment and let’s get in touch!

Note: This post (written by me) was originally posted on the blog of The Made in America Movement, and you can read it here. I did change a few things in this version to better match my blog theme and personal political stands.

5 thoughts on “America’s wealth inequality and how it’s related to how and where you shop

  1. You make very good points. I would like to add that where I live, I’m not able to “shop small” all we have are large corporate owned business’s to supply our needs. Does that mean I need to move or drive to another city to purchase supplies?
    Next up “Made in the USA”. First let me say that in NO way do I support business’s moving their company over seas. I do however understand it. Our government drives them away not the people of this country. Do you know how expensive it is to start and maintain a business in the US? An immigrant can start and run a company tax free for 7 years in the US, is that fair? The supplies and labor needed to make a product in the US are very costly. Most Americans are not wealthy, they are low to mid class citizens, can they afford the expensive products? Slightly more than half Americans live in a lower class household.
    I would love to see the government revamped to keep American made products in the US. I am pro “Made in the USA” and purchase American made products as much as possible.

    Like

    1. All we can do to impact the government is to vote, and yet nothing might change there… unfortunately. And of course it is not fair!
      Not even locally operated restaurants where you live? I apply the “shop small” also to online purchases. I try to buy straight from the source and not thru amazon or a big company if I don’t have to. Etsy is a fun online place to get “small” and “local” I think.
      Tj Maxx, Marshalls, and even Walmart do have lots of Made in USA items at good prices. A paintbrush from USA is only a dollar more than one from China at Home Depot. And as utilities and labor become more costly abroad I believe US manufacturing will get more competitive! Staying optimistic :)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yeah , we have a favorite family owned restaurant we eat at often around the corner from us. As I’m slowly moving to less consumerism, I find that I buy less and less and it’s not really missed. I didn’t even think about online purchasing. Maybe I’ll look up what types of businesses are in the state of Michigan in an effort to buy from them online if and when needed. I like your optimism and hope that things will turn around and companies return to the states or make more of an effort to start and stay here.

        Like

  2. I’ve done some research and found another list
    https://www.ranker.com
    They provide a list of over 150 different companies that have been started and still have headquarters in MI. Some of which I was aware of, obviously, the motor companies, Faygo, Vernors, and Koegels. Other I didn’t but at the very least you have helped me to do some research on the topic. So that will help with the shop small or keeping my money in my own state.
    I’m still convinced that the government is what is driving businesses out of the states though. America has some of the highest corporate tax rates around the world.

    Liked by 1 person

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