We often hear how the top 1% of the world’s population controls at least half of the planet’s wealth. To be precise, it took merely 62 richest billionaires who owned as much wealth as the poorer half of the world’s population – according to Oxfam early of the year. At the start of 2015, Oxfam had warned that 1% of the world’s population would own more wealth than the other 99% by 2016.
There were calls to tackle the problem, but the global inequality keeps growing. The middle classes have been squeezed at the expense of the very rich, according to research by Credit Suisse back in 2015, which also found that for the first time, there were more individuals in the middle classes in China – 109 million – than the 92 million in the US.
In 2010, the world’s millionaires controlled about US$69.2 trillion of world’s total wealth. Today, based on Credit Suisse latest report, there’re 33 million “millionaires” – those who are worth more than US$1 million in 2016 – controlling US$116.6 trillion, or about 45.6% of US$255 trillion in household wealth. That’s almost doubled in wealth accumulated by the “top tier” of the pyramid.
What this means is only 0.7% of the world’s population are controlling 45.6%, or US$116.6 trillion, of the money on planet Earth. Sadly, at the bottom of the pyramid, some 3.5 billion people had a net worth of less than US$10,000, accounting for just about US$6.1 trillion in household wealth. Interestingly, those who were worth less than US$10,000 back in 2010 had a combined net worth of US$8.2 trillion.
In other words, while the world’s richest have gotten richer – from US$69.2 trillion (2010) to US$116.6 trillion (2016) – the world’s poorest have gotten poorer – from US$8.2 trillion (2010) to US$6.1 trillion (2016). This also means 73.2% of the world population only holds about US$6.1 trillion of the world’s wealth in 2016 – a disturbing statistic.
Expectedly, the so-called middle class population were also hit equally bad in the world’s wealth distribution game. Middle class whose worth are between US$10,000 and US$100,000 have shrunk from 2010 – 1,045 million people (or 23.5% of the world’s population) – to the much lower number of 897 million (18.5% of the people) this year, 2016.
The safest bracket was those with fortune up to US$1 million – there were 334 million people (7.5% of the the world’s population) in 2010 as compared to 365 million people (unchanged at 7.5% of the population) in 2016. The Credit Suisse report also found that 41% of all the world’s citizens worth at least a million dollars live in the United States, follows by Japan (9%) and UK (7%).
The winner in the capitalism contest is obviously the UHNW (Ultra-High Net Worth) individuals. The study estimated there are 140,900 UHNW individuals worldwide with net worth above US$50 million. Within these number, 50,800 are worth at least US$100 million, and 5,200 have assets above US$500 million.
The total number of UHNW individuals is about 3% higher than a year ago (4,100 individuals), and the increase has been relatively uniform across regions, except for the higher than average rise in Asia- Pacific countries (10%). Still, Americans dominate the list of UHNW – eating up 52% of the super wealthy individuals.
Coincidently, President-elect Donald Trump won big due to a swing of support from the working class and middle class as shown by exit poll. From 1,045 million people in 2010 to 897 million this year – that’s 148 million people, including Americans, who were written off of the wealth bracket between US$10,000 and US$100,000.
Not only does this mean that President Barack Obama’s policies didn’t helped the poor and middle class, the rich have actually benefited extremely well under 8 years of Obama administration. This is one of major reasons why the working class Americans revolted. If capitalism has increased the gap between the rich and poor, globalism makes it worse by making the rich become even richer.
Democrat’s candidate who had lost to Hillary Clinton – Bernie Sanders – was right when he called for a political revolution against greed. Nearly 10,000 cheered him when he spoke furiously about the top 0.1% of Americans controlling as much wealth as bottom 90%. Too bad he was on Democrats ticket that got backstabbed by comrade Democrats – Hillary Clinton.
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