An analysis of 2016 data found that of 06/08/17, the world's richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth whereas the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth.
Thus, on average, each of the five owns nearly as much as 750 million people.
It's not a meritocracy as the apologists of capitalism claim.
Children are no longer living better than their parents did.
In the eight years since the recession the Wilshire Total Market valuation has more than TRIPLED, rising from a little over $8 trillion to nearly $25 trillion. The great majority of it has gone to the very richest Americans. In 2016 alone, the richest 1% effectively shifted nearly $4 trillion in wealth away from the rest of the nation to themselves, with nearly half of the wealth transfer ($1.94 trillion) coming from the nation's poorest 90%—the middle and lower classes. That's over $17,000 in housing and savings per lower-to-middle-class household lost to the super-rich.
A meritocracy? Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos have done little that wouldn't have happened anyway.
In 1975, at the age of 20, Bill Gates founded Microsoft with high school buddy Paul Allen. At the time Gary Kildall's CP/M operating system was the industry standard. Even Gates' company used it. But Kildall was an innovator, not a businessman, and when IBM came calling for an OS for the new IBM PC, his delays drove the big mainframe company to Gates. Even though the newly established Microsoft company couldn't fill IBM's needs, Gates and Allen saw an opportunity, and so they hurriedly bought the rights to another local company's OS -- which was based on Kildall's CP/M system. Kildall wanted to sue, but intellectual property law for software had not yet been established. Kildall was a maker who got taken. So Bill Gates took from others to become the richest man in the world.
Warren Buffett has advocated for higher taxes on the rich and a reasonable estate tax. But his company Berkshire Hathaway has used "hypothetical amounts" to 'pay' its taxes while actually deferring $77 billion in real taxes.
Since the end of 2015 Jeff Bezos has accumulated enough wealth to cover the entire $50 billion U.S. housing budget, which serves five million Americans. Bezos has used tax havens and high-priced lobbyists to avoid the taxes owed by his company.
with his billions has created a 'charitable' foundation, which in reality is a tax-exempt limited liability company, leaving him free to make political donations or sell his holdings, all without paying taxes.