AMERICANS MAKE UP HALF OF THE WORLD’S RICHEST 1%
By Annalyn Censky @CNNMoney January 4, 2012
It only takes $34,000 a year, after taxes, per person, to be among the richest 1% in the world….
If you’d like to tag along with my POL 102 class this semester, here’s your chance.
This week we’re discussing political economy, and our additional “text” is a pair of NPR Planet Money podcasts about Denmark:
Both podcasts aired in 2010, but they’re still relevant. In addition to a great deal of information about Danish political economy (and its extensive social welfare system), the podcasts also debate the costs/benefits of the Danish system.
For those of you familiar with the rhetoric about “European socialism,” Denmark is the poster child. The Danish state has one of the highest tax rates in the world, as well as one of the most extensive social safety nets in the world. Remarkably, it also has a dynamic economy and a (historically) low unemployment rate (though it has recently crept up to 7.8%—it was 4.2% in 2010 when the podcasts were produced, and had reached a low of 1.9% in 2008; by comparison US unemployment was 9.6% in 2010 and is currently 8.3%).
If you want to go a step further, here’s a module I created (with support from a grant from my university’s Center for Teaching and Learning) about welfare states called, not surprisingly, "The Welfare State" (hosted on Rice University’s Connexions open source learning platform). Beyond a short description of welfare state (as a concept), it provides data tables and discussion questions using economic indicators from Sweden, Japan, the US, Britain, France, Germany, and Denmark.
America spends five times as much on defence as China does, and even though China’s defence budget is expanding faster, on recent growth rates America will remain top gun until 2025.