Today’s big numbers

By Terry Plotkin

30. Thirty percent of the people in the world are now overweight. If you think of this as a disease, it is a severe epidemic. I don’t think of it that way though. It is a social malaise, a product of a world gone mad. Two billion people overweight! Too much food, too many bad choices, too lazy. We have created a mechanized world where machines do the work our bodies once did.  Systems are leaner, faster than ever before.  Unfortunately, the humans who use them are anything but.

Next number: 70. Seventy percent of the people in the developed world feel they have too much stuff. They say this as if they have no control over the situation. Somehow they acquire things they don’t need or want, and then when they get them, they cannot get rid of them. This reminds me of the SNL skit where Billy Crystal says, “The other day I put a screwdriver to my ear and then I took a ball peen hammer and pounded it into my head. Boy did that hurt.”  His buddy replies, “Ya, I hate when that happens.”  Is this over-accumulation a social disease, a byproduct of capitalism, the affect of brainwashing from marketers, or some strange mental illness that has yet to be discovered by psychiatrists?

Put the numbers together and you have people with too much stuff – either flesh or material goods.

Last of today’s big numbers: 257. Two-hundred-fifty-seven is the number of times you would have to multiply the average worker’s wage to equal the pay of the CEO they work for. Yes folks, this is the all time record. As shocking as this number is, that is not where the real money goes. The serious money doesn’t go to the CEO of Walmart, it goes to the Walton family who employs him.  Congratulations to the wealthy for winning the class war yet again for another year. This extends their winning streak to 34 years, starting when Ronald Reagan was elected president, ushering in tax cuts for the wealthy, war on the unions, and real wages which have fallen ever since.

Let’s give the CEOs and their employers some credit. They are an integral part of why 30% of the people are overweight and 70% have too much stuff. They sold all this excess to us at a handsome profit. And we bought it.

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