The current global distribution of wealth makes as much sense as the math in the title I’ve chosen for this post.
- the richest 1 percent have now accumulated more wealth than the rest of the world put together;
- just 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people, the bottom half of humanity. (This figure is down from 388 individuals as recently as 2010.)
And it gets even worse:
- Since the turn of the century, the poorest half of the world’s population has received just 1 percent of the total increase in global wealth, while half of that increase has gone to the top percent.
There is no getting away from the fact that the big winners in our global economy are those at the top. Our economic system is heavily skewed in their favour, and arguably increasingly so. Far from trickling down, income and wealth are instead being sucked upwards at an alarming rate. Once there, an ever more elaborate system of tax havens and an industry of wealth managers ensure that it stays there, far from the reach of ordinary citizens and their governments.
As if these numbers were not obscene enough, consider Oxfam’s projection in last year’s report: “If this trend continues of an increasing wealth share to the richest, the top 1 percent will have more wealth than the remaining 99 percent of people in just two years.”
Well, it didn’t take two years. It happened by the end of 2015.
Not only are we headed in the wrong direction. We’re headed there even faster than we thought possible.