Two Mind-Blowing Facts on Wealth Inequality from Oxfam

First the bad news–this statistic: 85 > 3,000,000,000

What that means is the world’s 85 richest individuals hold the net wealth equivalent of 3 billion people, or over half the world’s population. That is staggering. Somewhere Robin Hood must be rolling over in his grave.

Dennis Ryan, Olson, Advertising

But this week’s Oxfam briefing paper is it’s not all lousy news. While wealth inequity is definitely on the rise, and most of all here in the United States as the middle class continues to get hollowed out, there is a small glimmer of good news in the fact that global poverty reduction is also on the rise. Since 1970, the  global poverty rate has dropped by 80%.

Read more here. And maybe it’s time we really start talking about balancing the US tax code.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

A Troubling Fact Regarding Digital Industries and Employment Figures

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonOn Tuesday, New York Times Op-Ed writer Joe Nocera wrote a fascinating article about Jaron Lanier’s recent book “Who Owns the Future?” Within the review, Nocera cites Laneir’s harrowing perspective on how the new digitally-centric economy ultimately decimates the middle class. A simple comparison between Kodak and Instagram  blew away Nocera. And then me. And probably you, in turn…

“At its height, Kodak employed more than 140,000 people…When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only 13 people…Instagram isn’t worth a billion dollars just because those 13 employees are extraordinary…Instead, its value comes from the millions of users who contribute to the network without being paid for it…Networks need a great number of people to participate in them to generate significant value. But when they have them, only a small number of people get paid. This has the net effect of centralizing wealth and limiting overall economic growth.”

Collaborative networks hold such promise for intellectual and artistic advances; if Lanier is right, we need to innovate to add economic ones as well. Or better still, find ways for more people to return to that old fashioned idea of making stuff.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

PS:  I stepped away from this blog for a while. But I’m getting back to it now–mostly as a repository for bite-sized information I find interesting. Hope you will to.