The Credit Suisse global wealth report (pdf), is out and it has some surprising findings on the world wealth distribution. The report says that the richest 1% of the world’s population is not only getting wealthier but owns more than 48% of global wealth. The bottom half of the world population owns less than one percent of the world’s wealth.
The report also found that a person needs just $3,650 – including the value of equity in their home – to be among the wealthiest half of world citizens. The amount however goes up dramatically from that point. In order to be considered in the top ten percent, you need more than $77,000 and to be in the top one percent you need $798,000.
The world wealth itself is at an all-time high — twice that of the year 2000, or $263tn.
The China, the communist People’s Paradise, has the fourth largest number of people in the top ten percent. First place is still held by the United States followed by Japan. After China, there is France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.
66 thoughts on “Wealth Gap: Just $3,650 Puts A Person In Top Half of Wealth In The World”
“Plutocracy (from Greek πλοῦτος, ploutos, meaning “wealth”, and κράτος, kratos, meaning “power, dominion, rule”) or plutarchy, defines a society or a system ruled and dominated by the small minority of the wealthiest citizens.
The term plutocracy is generally used as a pejorative to describe or warn against an undesirable condition. Throughout history, political thinkers such as Winston Churchill, 19th-century French sociologist and historian Alexis de Tocqueville, 19th-century Spanish monarchist Juan Donoso Cortés and today Noam Chomsky have condemned plutocrats for ignoring their social responsibilities, using their power to serve their own purposes and thereby increasing poverty and nurturing class conflict, corrupting societies with greed and hedonism … Examples of plutocracies include the Roman Empire … [U.S.] …we had come to the stage where for our people what was needed was a real democracy; and of all forms of tyranny the least attractive and the most vulgar is the tyranny of mere wealth, the tyranny of a plutocracy.’’’ (Wikipedia). An plutocracy and an oligarchy are not the same, so those using the latter term when referring to U.S. power brokers are technically incorrect.
Annie – “The one percent, who own almost one half of the world’s wealth won’t care what us peons care about them and that includes the wannabe ‘rich’.”
“The report also found that a person needs just $3,650 – including the value of equity in their home – to be among the wealthiest half of world citizens.”
Something tells me Annie, that you are not the peon you wish you were. I would guess you are at least in the wealthiest half.
Owning societies is the ultimate power trip.
Dredd, precisely. That power is jealously guarded by the one percent, after all how many yachts and islands can one gazillionaire own? Power is much ‘sexier’.
Jim, I agree that the market doesn’t value basic labor, but you completely miss doglovers point. The point is that we, as a society, should value labor more than all the other thing s listed. We’re upside down in our values.
Bettykath: We’re upside down in our values.
Exactly! Doglover is headed in the right direction.
I could complain about you Paul, but you’re perfect! Here have a cookie!
The way to analyze it is “wealth is power.”
The power is distributed in parallel with wealth, which concentrates power.
Concentrated power corrupts.
That is the problem, not ipso facto the wealth by itself.
It is the power aspect of the alignment that corrupts.
Our whole scheme in the American experiment to develop a form of democracy is to keep the power in the many, in the people.
The underlying hypothesis is that distributed power is more difficult to corrupt than concentrated power is.
But our experiment has failed because the power follows the wealth, not the interests of the people.
We forgot that part along the way.
The other problem is the worship of war, which produces concentration of wealth (e.g. war profiteers), even as it leads inexorably to feudal dynamics:
(American Feudalism). Note also this dynamic also conflicts with what we claim that we treasure: freedom.
Dredd: The way to analyze it is “wealth is power.”
Your evaluation of the experiment in Democracy is on-target. The American form of government was one of the biggest challenges to aristocracy, the rule by kings or emperors, the world had ever seen at the time. Unfortunately, the experiment was not entirely successful because it allows for corruption and control by individuals or groups whose objectives are not the best interests of the population as a whole.
Maximizing individual freedom and self-governance would minimize the use of power, but that needs to be the predominant philosophy of a society. How can that be implemented when corruption and domination by governments is so universally accepted? Handing power over your life to a leader, or a group of people designated to make decisions for the population, even when you can potentially select the leader or members of the governing group, doesn’t guarantee that fairness and an equal share of benefits will naturally occur for you. How can a system be devised to encourage individual cooperation and optimal sharing of wealth by everyone without the use of force?
Annie – it will give you something different to complain about.
1% of the people own 50% of the wealth.
50% of the people own 1% of the wealth.
Oddly enough, the Romans had the haves and the have nots. And it occurred during the Middle Ages. Then again during the Renaissance, etc. It never ends and it never will. We have seen under Communism that the top Communists are the haves and the rest are the have nots. Today we have a lot of limousine socialists who talk the game but live in expensive homes and have expensive things.
When you have a statistical model there will always be tops and bottoms
Oh gosh. Will there be cries of “class war”, or complaints of reviling people from readers who think they’re rich, but really aren’t again? The one percent, who own almost one half of the world’s wealth won’t care what us peons care about them and that includes the wannabe ‘rich’.
doglover – “What if money represented labor, not inheritance, not reaping profits from using other people’s money to make loans at higher interest rates, not speculation, not lotteries, not risk, not fraud, not scams, not bribery, not corruption, not theft. Then who would be in the 1%? Probably janitors, day care workers, nurse aides, construction grunts, waitresses, farm workers.”
Nope, because those people are doing non skilled work and are easily replaced so the market doesn’t put value on them.
What if money represented labor, not inheritance, not reaping profits from using other people’s money to make loans at higher interest rates, not speculation, not lotteries, not risk, not fraud, not scams, not bribery, not corruption, not theft. Then who would be in the 1%? Probably janitors, day care workers, nurse aides, construction grunts, waitresses, farm workers.
“Those who are wealthy can control the factors of a trade to ensure they get the better end of the deal.”.
There is a phrase for this concept, “terms of trade”.
The US is 4th in Net Worth Per Capita. Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Switzerland, then USA. The USA is among the top 4% of the top 100 countries. Among the lucky few we all are. In the USA the NWPC is around $50,000. Even the poor among us are lucky to be poor in a society that is wealthy enough to provide for even our poorest with more than many, many people worldwide have.
We have our poverty pockets. One of the experiments in what happens when a government regulates things is the plight of the original American natives. They don’t own the land they reside on. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (ah, racism) runs things so well — not too bad as government bureaucracies go.
These are in order: Right way, Wrong way (just doesn’t work). Government way (makes things worse).
Wealth is about having or controlling “things”. There are only three ways to acquire things: Conquest, Trade, and Creation. Conquest, which is basically theft, means gaining and maintaining control of things through the use of force. Some people consider this wrong, but it is still widely practiced in today’s societies. Trade means exchanging things or labor by agreement. Supposedly, those involved in trade get things they want through the exchange. Often there is an imbalance of value in the trade so one side of the exchange gets more than the other. Those who are wealthy can control the factors of a trade to ensure they get the better end of the deal. Trade is widespread throughout the world. Creation is using knowledge and skills to build or develop the things that are desired. The creation process usually requires resources, naturally existing things, which can be used to build or develop things, or be consumed in the process. Control of natural resources is frequently what conquest is all about, or it requires wealth to trade and acquire control of the resources. Most people in the world have only a few things and their own labor to contribute to their wealth. I have often wondered what it would be like if the human system of laws and government didn’t support the ownership of things in ways which allow such a small percentage of the population to control such a large percentage of the wealth. What if the governments provided the currencies for the exchanges, instead of large private banks? What if there were no large corporations? What if individuals could own only what they could personally control? What would the wealthy do then? Would they still be just 1% of the population?
That’s true raff but you have to attribute a lot of the wealth in the West to the industriousness of the population. Acquiring wealth is a goal to most of the developed world. Not so much in other cultures. The acquisition of wealth has led directly to upwardly mobile societies and a flood of consumer goods and services. It also has led to better public health. Wealth acquisition is the worst form of national economy except for all the others.
Raff, you are so correct.
The Global wealth report provides an insight into what we already know. The Rich are getting richer at the expense of the middle class and the poor.
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