The latest rich list produced by the Forbes magazine shows that the collective wealth of the world’s 1,210 billionaires has reached a new record high of $4.5 trillion - up nearly $1 trillion on last year’s total.

At the same time three billion people (around 50% of the world’s population) exist on a meagre $2 a day. In fact only three years ago it was estimated that the world’s richest 225 people had combined assets equal to the combined annual income of the world’s 2.5 billion poorest people. This glaring gap in wealth has undoubtedly widened since then.

Such inequality, combined with the accompanying huge disparities in health and other life chances between rich and poor, are the products of the profit-driven capitalist system. This system almost went bust two years ago, in part due to the speculative greed of rich financiers. But it was rescued by pro-capitalist governments using trillions of dollars of public funds ie our money.

As Mahatma Gandhi once remarked: "We have enough for everybody’s need. But not enough for everybody’s greed."

So the next time rich politicians Cameron or Clegg or any other defender of this system parrots "we’re all in it together" or, "we can’t afford to maintain current levels of spending on public services", etc, then tell them to make the rich pay!

Committee for a workers' International publications

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