Where's the money gone?

Posted 02.16.13

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Where has the world's wealth gone? Since personal and family debt loads have never been higher, pensions are being cut -- or evaded by some corporations -- and Canada, once rated the number one country to live in the world by the United Nations, now can't afford to keep our scientists and researchers working, our health system functioning smoothly, schools teaching, infrastructure maintained -- we can't even fund a restoration of St Paul's Church!

This year Canada is ranked 17th in the world. Aren't we overflowing with oil, gas, copper, iron, timber, uranium, beef, pork, and everything else? Yet we can't afford a new icebreaker, clean water in reserves, or more doctors?

With the United States now in debt for trillions and applying "austerity cuts" to their budgets like every other developed (wealthy) country, this means an astronomical amount of money has left our financial system.

Where did it go?

Where is it now?

If there is an economist or statistician among our readers who can answer these questions -- no rants or political clich&ea;cute;s -- please do so. I can't be the only person puzzled, and clearly not the only one dealing with shortfalls.

Opinions are out there (although few include the statistics to support their scenarios), and one of the most common views is that, with globalization, there has been an ultra-massive transfer of money to the developing countries. Another opinion is that the money is still here. It never left. It merely changed hands, in a massive way. It has collected in a smaller and smaller pool, that held by the "one percenters."

US stats show that since Reagan's so-called reforms in the 1980s, members of the top one percent there have seen their income increase by 275 percent. Hourly wage owners have seen their incomes, after inflation, increase by $1.23 an hour. The upper-upper classes, thousands of people, are now claiming more money than they can actually spend (so it doesn't go back into the economy or trickle anywhere).

The upper of the upper-uppers, earn so much that they, effectively, have unlimited wealth. They could never run out of money, given how much they earn in interest on their billions. These people can do anything they wish, price is no object, as it is for 98 percent of the population. Answer: the money is still here.

There are other explanations -- off-shore accounts, the black-market economy, corporate-political corruption, and creative bookkeeping, which can prove just about anything, but we are looking at trillions lost. How is such an elephant hidden away? Journalism teaches us to follow the money.

Follow it where?


Copyright © 2013 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/02.13