Published On: Fri, Sep 1st, 2017

Poverty’s frustration

Jacob Gelt DekkerThe poor see their chances of social and economic mobility eroding; they have become second, or even third choice. The new elite of wealth formation is exclusive, locking out capital poor new comers. Income inequality is growing faster than equality and collective efforts to break the cycle of poverty by education and social mobility. Disparity from an inheritance of wealth is the winner in the not-so-level playing field.

With upcoming masses, more or less, locked out, or condemned to playing second fiddle, the outlook for balanced tranquility on the world stage is also eroding. Frustration, shame, and desperation lead to radicalism, populism, racism, and fascism. We see it all those unfolding in front our very eyes.

The largest wealth transfer in human history is taking place in the present decennium, which will last till about 2025. The baby-boomers are dying, and their children stand to inherit their accumulated wealth, which is collectively the largest wealth in world history.

Baby-boomer children and grandchildren, BB-kids and BB-grandkids, grew up in relative luxury. They are used to a comfortable lifestyle and tend to take it easy compared to their ancestors. They are, first of all, consumers.

BB-kids were born with the modern-day equivalent of a silver spoon in their mouth. The best school awaited them; the most exclusive universities opened their door, which they attended in spite of astronomical tuitions. In the end, always the best jobs awaited them, often with a kick-start, thanks to the influence of mummy’s and daddy’s friends and acquaintances.

Many aspects of late 19th century Biedermeier time of complacency and inertia, repeat themselves.

The BB-kids and BB-grandkids are consolidating their aggregate wealth and investing it in the blue chip markets, thus creating a new wealthy elite.

Many studies have suggested that those who have money keep their money; it can take 10-15 generations for an initial inherited advantage to be eroded.

The masses are larger than ever before, with 7 billion people in the world. Asia is going through a similar wealth transfer as the BB-kids and grandg=kids, with a new closed money elite of inherited wealth.

For instance, in a once dirt poor, Dutch colony, Nederlands-Indie, or nowadays called Indonesia, where more than 200 million people improved their wealth level, but 6 million became super rich and formed a new closed elite, who control the markets.

Disenfranchised massively regress to fascism, either in socialism-with-bully stick, like in Venezuela, North Korea, and Cuba, or massive populism like Donald Trump’s new white supremacist society.

Keeping the peace will be an acrobatic balancing act, only for experienced strategists, but implosion is in evitable.

By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Columnist for Curaçao Chronicle

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