There was a lot of talk last year, thanks to the rise (and subsequent fall) of Occupy Wall Street, about income inequality. This discussion is most assuredly not over since President Barack Obama has set his sights on higher income earners as part of his misguided domestic platform. But a new tool from the BBC allows you to, by putting your pre-tax income information, see where you are on the global payscale.
Many of my well-to-do friends in Washington, D.C. have been sympathetic to the Occupy movement and the “We Are the 99 Percent” campaign. Indeed, everyone should be outraged when politically connected banks and businesses rob the U.S. taxpayer. But everyone should also recognize that most wealthy people in the United States have made their money by producing goods and services that make us all better off.
Russia is an stark lesson in what not to do when transitioning from a command economy to a (supposedly) market economy, what not to do when (supposedly) liberating people from the boot of the state.
From that bastion of classical liberalism, the New York Times:
Gennady Veretelny was shot and wounded when he stepped forward unarmed 20 years ago to help stop a column of armored vehicles in central Moscow, one of the few casualties of the last, failed attempt to preserve the Soviet Union.
It was a moment when Russians, largely cowed and passive subjects of Soviet rule for 74 years, massed in the streets to support the future president, Boris N. Yeltsin, demanding democratic change.
“It is what it is,” said Mr. Veretelny, who has slipped from hope into passivity. “We just have to figure that this is what we ended up with.”
The writer Vasily Aksyonov captured the enthusiasm of many at the time when he called the 60-hour standoff “probably the most glorious nights in the history of Russian civilization.”
But almost 15 years after the standoff, the man who now rules Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, called the fall of the Soviet Union the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.”
Recent opinion polls as the anniversary of the standoff approaches this Saturday come closer to the view of Mr. Putin than of Mr. Aksyonov. Few people said they viewed the events of 1991 as a victory for democracy.
Mrs. Komar, who works as a helper at a health club, still builds her life around the memory of her son. She echoes the view of Mr. Veretelny, saying, “If my son could have seen where the country was going, he wouldn’t have been at the barricades.”