Sunday, 18 July 2010

Israel 'Democracy' - The Second Most Unequal Country In The World

I cannot find out what causes the drop-out below. Click the post title, please. Sorry.

Excerpts from the transcript:
HEVER: Israel is very centralized in terms of capital, far more than most developed economies in the world. About 18 families in Israel control roughly 60 percent of the equity value of all companies in Israel. So it’s concentrated in the hands of 18 families. Of course, there are other rich people in Israel who control some more of that other 40 percent.

The Israeli economy has a very strong banking sector and financial sector, which also includes insurance companies, so that’s a very big part of the Israeli economy. But Israel’s also one of the world’s biggest exporter of diamonds, Israel is one of the world’s biggest exporters of chemical fertilizer, and there are a lot of high tech industries. Much of that high-tech industry actually ties with a very large and very famous industry in Israel, which is the arms trade, the arms industry. A lot of the high-tech development in Israel is actually for what is known as homeland security technology. And so a lot of companies, especially companies set up by former military officers, specialize in developing homeland security products designed to track individuals and to help governments or corporations—.

Yeah. Well, until the year 2000, Israel was about the tenth biggest arms exporter in the world, but the fourth biggest arms exporter to the developing world, because Israel was willing to sell weapons to clients, to customers which other countries were reluctant to sell to, such as South Africa during the apartheid and so on. But after September 11, after the attacks, there was a famous quote by Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently Israel’s prime minister. He said these attacks are good for Israel; they show the world that Israel fighting terrorism—or fighting Islam, basically—is a good thing.

JAY: So these 18 families, we’re talking families that are all billionaires, then, in terms of, amongst the families, the wealth that’s been accumulated. In terms of the size of the fortunes on a global scale, are they significant fortunes?

HEVER: Well, they are significant in those sectors. In the diamonds sector and the weapons sector and in the fertilizer sector Israel is a global player. In the high-tech sector not so much, but definitely in the homeland security sector......
JAY: Now, in terms of general social programs, social safety net, how much redistribution takes place amongst Israeli citizens?

HEVER: Well, Israel is the most unequal country in the developed world, second only to the United States. In the year 2009, Israel bypassed Mexico for the first time as more unequal than Mexico, making Israel indeed one of the most unequal countries in the world. And that is because while most countries in the developed world spend some of their budgets in redistributive efforts such as health care, unemployment benefits, infrastructure, creating jobs, that sort of thing, Israel actually spends about 75 percent less, in ratio comparisons, with most of these countries, with OECD countries, and that is because Israel spends so much on security, on the military.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------This is Part 1 of a 3-part series; parts 2 and 3 are here and here

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