Monday, March 11, 2013

Graphs worth viewing

Hans Gosling, TED Talk
I've been a fan of Hans Gosling, the statistician and Swedish medical doctor made famous by his colorful and easily understood TED presentations. He has helped people explore the world statistically and grasp macro-economic concepts.

Today, Al Gore pointed me to another statistical presentation about income disparity in the US and, as with the Gosling motion graphs, the import of the content struck me instead of the magic of the math.

The Al Gore Wealth Inequality in America video shows that the wealthiest one percent of Americans now have more wealth than the bottom 90 percent and that most Americans don't understand that. The gap continues to widen as the top one percent receives almost 25 percent of annual U.S. income, up from 12 percent just 25 years ago. It's a disturbing video but presented softly and well worth watching:

Al Gore says, "In order to make the U.S. system of capitalism truly sustainable, we must tackle this unhealthy concentration of wealth. Too much wealth concentrated in the hands of too few disrupts societal stability and corrupts the wealth-creating incentives of our capitalist system. Anger over income inequality has already sparked popular backlash in the form of Occupy Wall Street and other similar demonstrations. Indeed, the level of inequality in the U.S. is already worse than in Egypt or Tunisia, two nations rocked in recent years by popular uprisings that overthrew national governments during the Arab Spring."

The man presenting the figures describes the serious gap between perception and reality. Understanding reality is the first step toward challenging the situation and making changes, thus this short posting to introduce you to the video.