A YouTube video that went viral this weekend shows that Americans radically underestimate income disparity in the U.S.
The video, created by user politizane, displays graphics made from data in a Harvard Business School survey that asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the U.S. and what the ideal distribution is, then compared those answers to what it actually looks like.
The study found that the top 1 per cent (of Occupy Wall Street infamy) “has more of the country’s wealth than nine out of 10 Americans believe the entire top 20 per cent should have.”
Politizane presents the distribution in a way that makes the study’s findings astoundingly clear.
The video takes America’s $54 trillion in wealth (as of 2009) and distributes it to the entire U.S. population, represented as 100 people in a line.
For example, this is what socialism would look like:
Here’s what most Americans believe is ideal:
What Americans think the reality is:
And what distribution actually is (Note: the 97-99 percentiles didn’t even fit on this chart, while the top 1 per cent had to be divided into 10 columns):
Politizane points out that the top 1 per cent own 40 per cent of U.S. wealth, takes home nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of the national income, and owns half of the country’s stocks bonds and mutual funds.
Meanwhile the bottom 80 per cent own just 7 per cent of America’s wealth, while the average worker has to work for a month to earn what the CEO makes in an hour.
The video concludes that “all we need to do is wake up and realise that the reality in this country is not at all what we think it is.”
Check it out:
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