tv Global 3000 PBS March 10, 2018 12:30am-1:01am PST
♪ be poor in a rich country. in a single night in 2017, there were more than half a million homeless people in the u.s. how did it come to this? if you only work hard enough, and are willing to keep learning, you can achieve anything. or so says the american dream. which sounds quite high. but if you look a little closer, for half of the country's adults -- so around 117 million people -- that figure was actually just $16,600 a year. and that income has barely changed in the last 30 years.
yet over the same period, the country's wealthiest 1% has seen its disposable personal income rise dramatically. reporter: they sleep in tents -- if they can afford one, that is. there are already some 58,000 homeless people in los angeles county, and that number is rising. the extent of the crisis is most apparent in downtown l.a. >> thank you for being love inside of each and every single one of us, and let's spread that today guys, love conquers all, we appreciate you father, we love you. in jesus' holy name, amen. reporter: this christian ngo distributes food. some of the homeless receive state aid and food stamps, but it doesn't get them very far.
irwin lives on $30 a month. he's originally from chicago, but came to l.a. for the warm winters. irwin: i just hope they start having temporary jobs so we can at least get day labor around here, so we can have money to do our hygiene things, maybe try to get in touch with our families, you know. reporter: further north in hollywood, summer has set up camp on a side street. the 33-year-old left utah to try her luck in california. now all she owns is a bicycle and a few other things. she's been living on the streets for a year and a half. summer: the things that i have come into contact with are -- well, a lot of people are, you know, out of prison or jail, and a lot of people that live on the streets are drug users. and, you know, they are great people, like, i have really
learned a lot from them and made some really good connections, but it's not the safest environment. reporter: summer was able to get by for a while with a waitressing job, but when she lost it, she had to move out of her apartment. that's not an uncommon situation for many here. l.a. is expensive. an average 70 square meter apartment in hollywood costs over $2000 a month. rising rents are actually making the city more attractive, says brian folb. the businessman leases offices and apartments in hollywood. he's seen more and more entertainment companies move into the area in recent years. but folb also complains that the homeless make his customers nervous. brain: they don't feel comfortable going out on the
street to do their business or go out to lunch or to go shopping and so forth. so we're getting a lot of pushback from businesses and people that have opted to move into the area feeling that maybe they made a mistake and maybe they need to make a change. reporter: the l.a. homeless services authority provides shelters and other housing services for the city's homeless. but it faces an uphill battle. the authority's communications director says that's down to a lack of political will. tom: there is just not enough housing that people who are on the lower end of the socio-economic scale -- and in some cases have no assets whatsoever -- can access. and unfortunately, it's overwhelmed the other aspects of the system, shelter in particular, and rapid re-housing. reporter: in november of 2016,
l.a. residents voted to raise property taxes, with proceeds going to help the city create more affordable housing. the goal is to build about 10,000 residential units over the next decade. but there are almost six times that many homeless in the county. we visit the midnight mission in downtown los angeles. joey: this is our program participant dining hall, so people that live here in our various programs will eat here. reporter: the organization has been around for a century, providing meals, shelters and rehab programs for the homeless. manager joey weinert believes that every person who lives on the streets should get help tailored to their individual needs. joey: housing is definitely very important. that's top of the list, of course, but taking somebody off the street and just putting them in housing, i don't think it's necessarily the answer without having some kind of treatment to bring them to being able to be a
productive member of society. reporter: she's grown all too familiar with life on the streets of hollywood. now, summer from utah no longer believes anyone really cares what happens to her. summer: once you're down, the system keeps you down. and they don't want -- they say they want to help you, but they legitimately don't. they want to get you out of their way. i mean, even the cops told me yesterday, they were like, we hate you guys being like out here like this, and seeing this on our streets. and i am like, then do something about it. reporter: the police regularly evict the homeless woman from her makeshift home, writing her a ticket for setting up a tent on the street. so far, she hasn't been able to find an emergency shelter.
the glittering lights of hollywood don't promise hope or help for people like summer. and nights on the street are fraught with danger. for the homeless, life in the city of angels is a daily struggle just to survive. $7.67 trillion. that's almost twice germany's gdp. right now, jeff bezos, the founder of online shopping retailer amazon, is the world's richest man. and that's thanks partly to the stock markets. bezos owns 16% of amazon's shares, and their value is skyrocketing. in the first days of this year, his estimated wealth increased by $6 billion. do billionaires simply work harder than the rest of us? >> they work hard. they don't wait for others to
give them something, they get busy themselves. that's why the rich keep getting richer. reporter: if you believe the statistics shown on this so-called wealth clock, private wealth is increasing by 1 billion euros a day -- net -- in germany alone. that sounds a bit abstract. even more abstract than this timepiece, the purpose of which is less to tell the time than to let the wearer flash their wealth. but is it really true that the rich are getting richer? it's not something rich people like to talk about. but someone who manages their wealth ought to know. i find an asset manager in the heart of berlin. i figure the job of an asset manager is to increase their clients' wealth. christian neuhaus soon puts me straight on that. his main task is to preserve his clients' wealth. ok, but are the rich getting richer? christian: yes, insofar as
wealthy people have access to better asset management solutions and services, and get more professional advice than most. that lays the foundation for building up wealth on the assets side of the balance sheet. reporter: building up wealth -- so that's what you call it when the rich get richer. but the suitcase full of money is outdated. wealth these days looks different. try visiting any major car show. luxury cars are getting faster, more luxurious, and ever more expensive. and yet their sales are increasing worldwide. >> you could buy one for two million euros. reporter: great news for car dealers. >> conspicuous spending has been frowned upon, but it's very resilient. new markets are opening up and people seem to have the appetite to keep buying bigger, more expensive cars. reporter: so on the positive side, there at least seem to be more and more rich people getting richer. how do researchers explain this
huge increase in the personal wealth of an ever growing elite? michael: there's been a series of political decisions over recent decades, regarding taxation, and that's brought huge benefits for the wealthy. i think that's the main factor. and we're not just talking about individual income tax, but also a corporation tax that puts far less of a burden on companies. and in most industrialized countries, that has led to a significant increase of income and wealth at the very top. reporter: the makers of luxury goods have to come up with ever wackier ideas to get their hands on customers' dollars. two multimillionaires, who had originally agreed to an interview, changed their minds when they heard precisely what it was about. but a third, thomas wiedling, was still willing to talk to me. he donated half his inheritance to a foundation that aims to end wealth disparity.
my first question -- what do you do with a billion euros? thomas: all i know is that it's far beyond what any human being, regardless of who they are, can ever need or use. reporter: wiedling describes his own lifestyle as modest. he works as a literary agent and is just glad that he and his family don't have to worry about their old age. he sees tax evasion by the super rich as a key factor in global poverty. thomas: we're talking about vast sums of money. eliminating that would free up money for the common good. that would be a start. reporter: wiedling would also like to see higher rates of inheritance tax. but many big corporate dynasties claim that would ruin them. michael: when it comes to inheritance tax in germany, i've been told by well-known corporate attorneys who work for these companies that an
inheritance tax of 15% would be no problem at all for any of these corporations. reporter: so if you inherit 100 billion euros, you'd pay 15 billion euros into public coffers. but what goes on in the heads of the super-rich? don't they eventually lose their appetite for status symbols? and at what stage can they even be classed as rich? christian: you're rich when you can finance your lifestyle and expenditure through income from your assets, even after taxes, fees, and inflationary adjustment. then you are genuinely rich. reporter: so how much do you really need to finance your lifestyle? 10,000 a month perhaps? or maybe a million? host: much wealth is inherited, which of course helps to keep the rich, rich. but what about social mobility
in wealthy countries? are the poor destined to remain poor? we head now to britain, where the social divide from birth onwards is becoming ever wider. concerns about debt mean that families often struggle to get their children the education that could pull them out of poverty. reporter: it's 7:30. time to get ready for school. but in this salford household in northern england, it's no easy feat. sloane warbrick and her big family live on around 200 pounds, almost $280, per week. that's all they have for bills and food, but at least their rent is covered. sloane: with six kids, it's hectic, it's mad, it's crazy. got to make sure everyone has
their school bags, school books, reading books, p.e. kits. it's not even time to leave yet, that's when it gets fun. reporter: sloane's children go to four different schools. the family lives solely on state welfare benefits, and so having a car is out of the question. sloane's partner kevin has provided some relief. he's currently out of a job. still, sloane has faced worse. sloane: when my ex-husband left me with the six children, everything, no money, coming in. and it was a case of, okay, i'll go without food. i will live on toast and coffee so my kids can have that can of beans or they can have that little bit extra pasta. so yeah, we do make sacrifices. reporter: sloane's experience is not unique. almost a third of all children in this area live in poverty.
that means their household income is less than 60% of the annual british median income. over the past five years, the number of people living in poverty in the u.k. has risen. children's charities say that increasing living costs and cuts in state benefits have left many families without sufficient support. sloane's children have become used to doing without. shelby: i like my room as it is, but sometimes, i'd rather have my own room. i like being surrounded by them, just not all the time. reporter: but the lack of privacy is just a small problem. zak remembers when his father left and his mum was forced to go to a food bank. zak: i thought the world was going to end because i thought we were going to have nothing to live on and no electric or anything. so now i'm used to it, so now i know what to do. sloane: you know, some people
can just stick their kids into grammar schools or private schools because they can afford to. but then obviously on a low income, we just get by, simple as that. we get by and we deal with it. we build a resilience. reporter: sloane hasn't built that resilience alone. her neighbors have also been there for her. every week they come together to talk about their problems. it helps them deal with the realities of poverty. pete: poverty by definition is isolation. it is the stripping away of a person's ability to join into a society. that can be in a very physical way in that people can't join in
and participate in life in the ways that they would like or they need to, but also there is a shame engendered by poverty which people can self-isolate. sloane: knowing these people have got my back, obviously, it's a sense of security, it's a sense of belonging. and, yeah, that's all i'm going to say about that, it's a sense of belonging. reporter: sloane also volunteers at a food bank. brian lengden has come to pick up some basic supplies. delays to benefit payments and changes to the u.k.'s benefit system have seen a rise in referrals to food banks, according to anti-poverty charity the trussell trust. at this food bank, numbers have gone up. brian: i'm just struggling, just not enough in the house after
paying rent and electric and all the other bills. i don't have virgin, i don't have any luxuries, i don't own a phone, at home or on me. so, it's basic, and that's how you've got to survive. sloane: i've been in this situation. i've had nothing. and i want to know that i can make a difference and make people feel welcomed. reporter: with a little help from kevin, sloane is trying to give her children a structured upbringing. they eat dinner together every day at 5:00. and there are set bed times. sloane: the goal for my children is not to be in poverty, not to be in debt, and to be happy and not struggling.
reporter: at the same time, she knows it will be hard for her children to break out of a cycle that has trapped so many in britain. host: who owns and profits from a nation's agricultural areas? across the globe, transnational companies and foreign governments are busy leasing, or snapping them up. yet over 1.5 billion people depend on the land that they and their families have been cultivating for generations. our reporter katja dohne went to peru, and witnessed the effects such conflicts can have on local people. katja: we've come to ucayali, an area inside peru's amazon rainforest that's been badly hit by deforestation. robert guiamaraes is on his way to visit an indigenous community. they can only be reached by boat. guiamares heads up the federation of native communities in this part of peru. he grew up in a village here.
but he doesn't come back often, as it's become too dangerous. robert: i received a lot of death threats. they left a message in my house saying if i opposed their activities again, they'd better not see me in the village. i believe i'm in great danger. katja: he opposes the large-scale deforestation in his region. and that has earned him some powerful enemies. he never comes here alone now. this time he's with staff from the organization proetica, the peruvian arm of transparency international. they visit santa clara de uchunya. residents here have come under pressure from companies looking to set up cocoa and palm oil plantations. the village chief calls everyone to a meeting to discuss the latest developments. they're taking legal action to try to stop new palm oil plantations opening nearby. carlos: we never thought that we would have such problems with transnational companies.
katja: on the other side of the river, large areas of forest have already been stripped and replaced with oil palms. no one has access to the area. we couldn't even film with a drone. as soon as we got near the plantation, the signal was disrupted. village life has changed. in the past, residents lived from fishing and hunting. now all the larger animals have disappeared, and there are fewer birds, too. instead, they've had an invasion of mosquitoes, more than ever before. their traditional way of life has become impossible. carlos: we live from the land. from hunting, fishing, from the resources that the jungle has to offer. an indigenous people without land just doesn't make any sense. katja: now the village wants to have 20,000 hectares turned into legally protected ancestral territory. but the initiative has earned them death threats.
the danger is very real. just a few months ago, six farmers were found shot to death. so far, no one has been held accountable for their murders. but how do these large corporations get their hands on thousands of hectares of land seemingly overnight? the anti-corruption group proetica has examined the land deals and documented their findings. now, staff from proetica have come to inform local residents. magaly: we wanted to highlight one thing, namely, the connection between deforestation, the illegal trade in land, and corruption amongst local officials. there have long been rumors about this, but there wasn't enough evidence to be able to say definitively, yes, it's true. katja: they gathered all the available documents and carried out numerous interviews. many of the deals reached in this region are linked to czech
entrepreneur dennis melka. he is now being investigated by state prosecutors. the melka group companies have stripped 13,000 hectares of rainforest to make way for palm oil and cocoa plantations. they were helped by corrupt local politicians, who invalidated existing land rights, effectively taking the land from its owners. we've come to pucallpa, the capital of the region, where we're meeting two farmers. they agreed to speak to us in the protected environment of a hotel. in 2014, regional authorities appropriated their land. now there are oil palms growing on it. ruben: when i went to the police about it, there was suddenly an attack. they were trying to kill me. katja: despite the intimidation tactics, the legal proceedings are continuing. the authorities have visited the land, but there's been no progress. the farmers are now hoping for outside help.
ruben: we're still hoping that things will improve. that international organizations will get involved. the conservation groups who will be able to do something. katja: the farmers have lost faith in their own state and local government. magaly avila is heading to the regional director's office, which is responsible for awarding land rights. police are following up on over 100 complaints against the official. the atmosphere is tense. the director has the entire conversation recorded. he insists that he has stayed within the law. isaac: i always say -- and this is a statement of faith because i'm a christian -- only the truth will set me free. nothing else. katja: magaly addresses the demands of the indigenous people for more land. the director says there are enough protected areas, and the remaining land needs to be
turned to profit. isaac: when you say these areas are poor, that's clearly contradicting your argument. yes, they are poor, that's why we need to find new ways of developing them. katja: but the money made by the palm oil plantations does not benefit local indigenous communities. back to santa clara de uchunya. village elders tell us that a few hours after we left, armed men were sent out to patrol the edge of the village -- yet another form of intimidation. local residents will need to keep up their fight if they are to preserve their way of life in future. host: that's all from us today. but we're always delighted to hear from you. so drop us a line by email or on facebook, dw global society. see you next time. bye for now. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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