In Summary
  • “Tax the super rich big time” is a new rallying cry, making it both a very good and a very bad time to be a billionaire.
  • In China, attempts at redistributing wealth have reduced poverty radically but also the inequality gap and super rich numbers have risen dramatically at the same time.

It’s not the kind of story you expect these days, but there it was. The Social Democratic Party, said a report in the Nation, had changed its name to Communist Party of Kenya from March 5, 2019.

“In an advertisement in the local dailies,” the story said, “Secretary-General Benedict Wachira said the party remains committed to its communist path founded on a Marxist-Leninist line and the strength of Kenyan working class and its allies”.

The difference between socialist/socialism and communist/communism is a fine one, and most people often use them interchangeably.

EQUALITY

However, definitions from Investopedia capture it well: “Communism and socialism are economic and political structures that promote equality and seek to eliminate social classes.

“In a communist society, the working class owns everything, and everyone works toward the same communal goal. There are no wealthy or poor people — all are equal, and the community distributes what it produces based only on need. …

“Like communism, socialism’s main focus is on equality. But workers earn wages they can spend as they choose while the government, not citizens, owns and operates the means for production. Workers receive what they need to produce and survive.…”

DIVIDE

To complete this, it defines capitalism: “In capitalist societies, owners are allowed to keep the excess production they earn. And competition occurs naturally … Capitalism tends to create a sharp divide between the wealthiest citizens and the poorest, however, with the wealthiest owning the majority of the nation’s resources.”

Communist parties have fallen out of fashion nowadays; the most successful one, the Chinese Communist Party, is now the world’s biggest capitalist party.

Still, renaming of Kenya’s SDP as communist is in line with the global shift to socialist sensibilities, with demands for a fairer sharing of wealth in a world that is increasingly unequal.

Few groups fuel this debate like the charity Oxfam, which has cornered the conversation with its annual world inequality report and ruffles feathers whenever it comes out.

TAX

This year’s spoke of a still-growing concentration of the world’s wealth, reporting that in 2018, the 26 richest billionaires owned as many assets as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world’s population.

Page 1 of 2