Capitalism is being unmasked as a systemic failure in this study of the US economy — one has not delivered on several objective measures: wealth inequality; racial wealth inequality, healthcare costs; criminal justice; democracy . The Canadian economy shows signs that a crisis is systemic, rather than purely political or economic, is that key indicators decline or stay the same regardless of changes in political power or business cycles.
These numbers drive the debate for system change: Introducing The Index of Systemic Trends
More than 300 high school students marched in downtown Halifax to demand action on climate change.
This week The Next System Project releases its first “Index of Systemic Trends,” a series of economic indicators that together make the case for systemic solutions that get at the roots of the nation’s most critical economic and social crises.
“While it is tempting to blame Donald Trump and the virulent form of right-wing extremism he represents for the nation’s ills, this is, unfortunately, an inadequate reading of our recent history—and a dangerous one at that,” reads the introduction to the index. “In many ways, the rise of Trump is actually a symptom of a much longer systemic crisis that has been building over the last several decades. This first-ever edition of The Next System Project’s Index of Systemic Trends is an effort to begin to quantify, track, and visualize this crisis.”
The index specifically tracks a set of economic and social indicators that reveal the chronic and systemic nature of economic and social inequities and our qualitative standing when compared to other major countries. Some highlights:
- Wealth Inequality: In 1970, the top 1 percent and the middle 40% of Americans had a similar share of wealth (around 28%). By 2015, the wealth share of the top 1 percent exceeded 37% while the share of the middle 40% was almost unchanged at 27%. The wealth share for the bottom 50% was also unchanged—at virtually zero.
- Racial wealth inequality: The median net worth of Black families had by 2016 had fallen to roughly half what it was in 1983. The median net worth of White families went from 1,600% higher than that of Black families in 1983 to 4,000% higher by 2016.
- Healthcare costs: Per person, health costs in the US are close to five times higher than they were in 1970 in constant dollars. Yet our residents fare worse, most notably in life expectancy, than those of any other high-income country.
- Criminal justice: While Canada, Mexico, and most European countries incarcerate fewer than 200 residents per 100,000 population, the US incarcerates 274 per 100,000 White residents and Black residents at a rate that is six times higher, 1,609 per 100,000. For Latinx, the rate is 857.
- Democracy: When measured against other major countries, the United States finished dead last in the Index of Economic Democracy, measuring workplace and individual rights, distribution of economic decision-making, transparency, and associational economic democracy.
“This index is by no means a comprehensive or empirical study,” the introduction concludes. “It is designed purely to be illustrative of what, we believe, is an important observation: that our current political-economic system is consistently failing to deliver improvement and or competitive results compared to other advanced economies across a variety of different measures; and that this is indicative of a systemic crisis and the need to move in the direction of a new system that can and will produce better outcomes.“ SOURCE