Dear Editor

June 26, 2001

To the editors of the Toronto Star;

Re: Radical change necessary to aid poor - Star June)

"Statistics Canada's new survey of financial security paints a shocking portrait of the skewed distribution of personal wealth in Canada," says Steve Kerstetter, "but it says almost nothing about the reasons for this sorry state of affairs or possible ways of correcting the excesses."

The reason for income disparity is not hard to find. Under Capitalism, "Money makes money." That's why they call it Capitalism. The corollary is inescapable: "The rich get richer."

Economists like the Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen have shown that poverty is not caused by scarcity, but by failure of the distribution system. In other words, poverty is caused by the accumulation of wealth, which is why the greatest poverty is always found within sight of the greatest wealth.

This is why, the richer we get, the more we need a strong public sector to spread the money around. In fact, it could be argued that the main purpose of government, in these affluent times, is to redistribute income. Unfortunately, our current governments, hacking and slashing programs, and seized with the mania for the tax-cutting fad, are redistributing it in the wrong direction.

Wayne Smith

[published in the Toronto Star, June, 2001]