A new study released by one of the world’s most respected international organizations shows that “global inequalities in wealth are at their highest level for 20 years and are growing, ” the BBC reported yesterday.

The global study found “that in most of the 32 developing countries they looked at, the rich had increased their share of national income since the 1990s,” the BBC report said.

Making matters worse is the fact that one reason the gap between the rich and the poor is widening is not necessarily because the rich are getting richer, but because the poor are getting poorer, the study shows. “In a fifth of the countries, the incomes of the poorest had fallen” over that same period since the 90’s, the BBC report said.

The worldwide study was released by Save the Children, an international non-profit organization whose stated goal is to improve the lives of children everywhere.

“The gap (between the wealthy and the poor) has become particularly pronounced among children, and affects their well-being,” the BBC report quoted the charity as saying.

While neither the Save the Children study nor the BBC report regarding it made any mention of world attitudes around the so-called Global Wealth Gap, we will here.

In the United States, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has been taking considerable heat from his political opponents in the Republican Party the past year for wanting to “redistribute wealth.”

The Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, was famously caught by a hidden microphone at a GOP fundraiser last May talking about the “47% of Americans” who he said were going to “vote for this president no matter what” because they were “not paying taxes” and were dependent upon the government to get by.

This 47%, Mr. Romney went on, were not willing to take responsibility for themselves. Mr. Romney told his campaign contributors, who paid many thousands of dollars per-plate to attend the fundraising dinner (served by white-gloved waiters), that it was not his job to be worried about that 47%.

In the immediate aftermath of the release of the recording, when he was being criticized for his remarks, Mr. Romney stoutly defended what he had said. Only as the criticism grew overwhelming during the weeks that followed, threatening to derail his candidacy for his nation’s highest office, did Mr. Romney retract his remarks, repudiating them in full. “I was completely wrong,” he allowed.

Startling, however, was the number of Americans who appeared to agree with his earlier-stated views. Public opinion surveys showed a remarkable number of members of his own Republican Party who supported his ideas. Presumably, after Mr. Romney repudiated his own statements, those Republicans repudiated theirs.

Yet this is only the latest in a decades-long opinion trend — not only in America, but around the world — that now begs the question: Do people holding great, or even modest, wealth really care about the people holding none? Further, and perhaps more to the point, should they?

Is it at some level the responsibility of those who “have” to be worried about (much less actually take care of) those who “have not”?

This, of course, is not a small social issue; not an insignificant question. Human societies from the beginning of civilization have had to face it.

Is it okay for such societies to “take from the rich and give to the poor” through taxes, levies, or by whatever legal means?

Conversations with God is very clear on this subject. It says that in highly evolved societies of this future there will be no taxes, levies, or limitations on a person’s income whatsoever. It also says this would be so because in such societies people would voluntarily give a generous percentage of their income to a global fund for the poor.

CWG also suggests that members of such societies would voluntarily place on themselves an upper limit on income…say, $25 million a year, as simply an example…and that everything above that amount would be freely sent to a global fund to help those living in poverty, but with the stipulation that those contributing the funds could specifically direct their use to the programs and charities of their choice — meaning they would still be in charge of where their money went.

Such ideas are utopian, to be sure, but they do raise a continually nagging question: How much is ‘enough’? And, since the wealthy worked to produce their wealth (presumably), should they be required, even by social pressure, to share it with the less fortunate (or with, as Mr. Romney said in his now admittedly mistaken remarks, the 47% of people who will never “take responsibility for themselves”)?

The question, of course, presumes an equality of opportunity for the poor to themselves become rich — an assumption that may or may not reflect the true state of the global marketplace.

And your thoughts?

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