TaN: The wealth of the rich are built on the backs of the toiling masses. Think about it. One of the main tenets of nature and the universe is equilibrium – and there are no exceptions (matter and anti-matter, proton and electron, thesis and anti-thesis, positive and negative, yin and yang, hot and cold, wet and dry, … and wealth and poverty). In the beginning, there was neither wealth nor poverty – but there was labor and natural resources. Everybody labored, everyone was at the same level – no one was rich and none was poor. As time went by, those who labored more produced more. More products means increased consumption. However, in time (again), certain products were so abundant that there was excess even after satiation (or saturation point of consumption). At this point, so as not to let the labor that went into production be wasted, they were “converted” into wealth – i.e., potential labor or labor at rest. This is the beginning of wealth. And, when wealth appeared, poverty was not far behind – after all, if there are people who are wealthy, there must be people who are poor, otherwise what will be the basis of concluding that someone is wealthy if s/he is not compared to someone else who has less – i.e., poor.
But, how is wealth built on the backs of the poor? Consequently from having wealth, the rich use their wealth to employ those who have less – why labor yourself when you can hire someone to labor for you. So, instead of doing the work yourself, you have someone else do it for you. If you honestly understand the implication here is, it means that the “employee is doing all the labor in the production but not receiving the full amount of that labor, because the employer takes a (bigger) cut”. What this means is that the employer is some sort of a “parasite” because he deprives the employee of the true amount for his labor but gets a portion of it for himself – not to mention the government. Now, multiply this by the number of employees and you have a general perspective of how the wealth of the rich is built on the backs of the masses. The other major factor for the continuing growing abyss between the rich and the poor is the “willingness” of the poor to be “exploited” by the rich, instead of organizing themselves (into cooperatives and into social corporations) so as to reap the full benefit of their labor. Let the rich get their hands dirty and labor honestly for their “good life”. The only true labor is that which one actually works for; the capitalist does not really labor, but profits from the labor of the employees.
TaN: Economic growth (as defined and implemented today – i.e., consumerism) and sustainable development (i.e., with respect to the environment or nature and to people) are diametrically opposed. To many, these concepts are far too abstract and/or huge to comprehend, so let us put it in simpler terms or perspective. The world is finite – it means that this planet and all within it has been constant ever since. Over the supposed billions of years of its existence, the water, the air, the land, the minerals, and everything has been the same since the beginning. Meteorites made insignificantly quantitative contributions to the overall amount of matter.
In simpler terms, let us assume that the whole planet is just two hectares of land (each with a small pond and the life contained within its boundaries). One couple will occupy one hectare and the other couple will have the other hectare. We begin with a two simple couples and there is more than enough food and resources – so much that they can afford to be “wasteful”. Over time, the couples will have children – but the two hectares of land will stay the same – naturally, the consumption will increase. For a small family, each hectare will still be able to support all their needs. However, as the children grow up and have their own families – assuming the two families’ children will inter-marry – they will, eventually, have their own children. All this while, as the number of people increase over time, the two hectares remain the same. So the consumption goes up while the available resources remain the same – meaning that consumption per consumer goes up. Eventually, as the people continue to increase and the resources are just “recycled”, there will come a point when there will be less and less for everyone until there will not be enough anymore. To ensure that there will be enough for all, they will have to begin to be more prudent or maximize the utility of the resources in order to have enough for everyone, otherwise some will have less than others – the worst case scenario will be complete deprivation. And, this is what is happening today – billions are deprived, with millions being completely deprived.
Finally, this does not mean that it is inevitable that people will be deprived – as population continues to increase. The first step is to zero in on the main culprit – wasteful consumption (i.e., consumerism, for economic growth). By making sure that resources are optimally used – i.e., maximizing the use of and least demand on resources. It has been reported in a United Nations report that, if prudently and sustainably used, there is enough resources everywhere to support a world population of – get this – 15 BILLION! Furthermore, it can go up higher if resources are used following the adage, From everyone according to his abilities; to everyone according to his needs.