Tomm, thanks for your thoughtful comment.
The increase in wealth between a subsistence society and an industrialized society has little or nothing to do with a “Look out for number one, screw everyone else” philosophy, or any other particular philosophy.
This is especially true when you are using world-wide numbers over the last 100 years rather than the relative wealth of the top 10% and bottom 10% in the United States over the same period.
A decrease in poverty in a period of world-wide transition from an agricultural to an industrial society in no way proves that a plutocracy is a good idea.
Tools increase productivity and increases in productivity increase wealth irrespective of the philosophy involved.
You can’t have an industrialize society without workers and no matter how poorly paid, industrial workers in a society with running water and electricity will ALWAYS be better much off than agricultural workers in a pre-technology society.
In short, the chart of decreasing world-wide poverty over a period of industrialization proves nothing about the supposed value of any social philosophy.
Even in a plutocracy the poorest segment in an industrialized society is better off today than it was in an agricultural one a hundred years ago. That’s inevitable.
But let’s talk about poverty in the U.S.
Between the 1960s and the present, the average wealth of the top 10% of households increased by over six times and the average wealth of the bottom 10% of households decreased by about ten times.
Over this period, the top 10% became over 6 times richer and the bottom 10% became over 10 times poorer.
In the period between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, the net wealth of the top 20% of households increased by about 71% while the net wealth of the bottom 40% (not 20%) of households declined by about 76%.
The top 20% got about 70% richer while the bottom 40% got about 75% poorer.
For the numbers see my columns:
Over The Last 50 Years The Rich Have Gotten Much Richer & The Poor Much Poorer. Policies Designed To Make The Rich Richer Did Make The Rich Richer, And They Also Made The Poor Poorer
Why The Middle Class Is Disappearing. Over the last 50 years housing, medical and education costs have increased 2X to 7X while median income has barely increased at all.
I suggest that the society we should want is a meritocracy where talent and hard work are able to be rewarded.
Do You Want People To Be Successful Through Work & Talent? What Do We Have To Do To Make Today’s America Actually Work That Way?
Today maybe half the population has a shot at improving the financial condition of themselves and their children through work and talent because they have the wealth and family resources to be able to do so.
The other half of the population has a sharply decreasing ability to improve themselves based on talent and hard work because of the barriers of the cost of training, the cost of living that is increasing much faster than wages, and the detriments inherent in living in communities rife with drugs, crime, poor schools, broken family structures, a not foreseeable decent future, and the toxic effect of low-class social values.
Poor communities with broken families have low-class values and low-class values spawn poor communities and broken families in a feedback cycle.