Monday, February 20, 2017

More on more inequality

The Socialist Golden Rule 
 "Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."- Honoré de Balzac

In early 2016 Oxfam reported that just 62 individuals had the same wealth as the bottom half of humanity.
About a year later Oxfam reported that just 8 men had the same wealth as the world's bottom half.
Based on the same methodology and data sources used by Oxfam, that number is now down to 6 The wealth of these six men increased by $69 billion in just one year.  As of 17th of February, the world's six richest individuals had $412 billion. The poorest five deciles of the world population own just .16% of the $256 trillion in global wealth, or $410 billion. 

The world's richest 10% (mostly the richest 1%) gained nearly $4 trillion while every other segment of the global population lost wealth

According to the Forbes Billionaire List, the world's richest 500 individuals have $4.73 trillion in wealth. The poorest seven deciles of the world population own just 1.86% of the $256 trillion in global wealth, or $4.76 trillion. That's over two-thirds of all the people on earth. That means 5,000,000,000 people -- FIVE BILLION people -- have, on average, and after debt is figured in, about a thousand dollars each in home and property and savings.

In the U.S., the Forbes 400 Own as Much as 3/5 of the American People 
The bottom 60% of Americans own 3 percent of the nation's $85 trillion in total wealth, or $2.55 trillion. The Forbes 400 owned $2.4 trillion in October 2016, and that's been steadily increasing.  And yes, many Americans have negative wealth because of debt. A human being doesn't have to live in a third-world slum to be impoverished. 

Cato's Michael Tanner suggests that "even if inequality were growing as fast as critics claim, it would not necessarily be a problem." The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby calls the Oxfam analysis "irrelevant." Reuters contributor Felix Salmon calls it a "silly stat."  Capitalism's apologists say the Oxfam methodology is flawed, but whether it's 6 individuals or 62 or 1,000 doesn't really matter. The data from the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook (GWD) and the Forbes Billionaire List provide the best available tools to make it clear that inequality is extreme and getting worse every year. The poorest half (and more) of the world has continued to lose wealth; and the VERY richest individuals -- especially the top thousand or so -- continue to add billions of dollars to their massive fortunes.

  The power that comes with the money has served to corrupt our government, our communities, our democracy, our education, our health-care, and it destroys our personal lives. 


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