Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Oxfam Report

According to a recent Oxfam report (2014 figures): 

The world’s richest 80 (sic, 80!, that’s – like – 1 per every 100 million people) individuals own as much wealth ($1.9 trillion) as the bottom 50% of the entire world’s population (3.6 billion out of 7.2 billion people).

And the world’s richest 1% (of individuals or families, it doesn’t matter) own 50% of the world’s total wealth ($263 trillion) (the top 1% owns half the wealth, $131 trillion).  That leaves the rest of us sharing 50%, right?  Not too shabby, right?

Wrong, maybe pretty shabby.  How much does the 2nd 1% own, and the 3rd 1%, and the 4th 1%?  A conservative extrapolation would yield 20% for the 2nd 1%, an extra 10% for the 3rd 1%, and an extra 5% for the 4th 1%.   So, a conservative guesstimate would suggest that the wealthiest 5% own 85% or more of the world’s total wealth, leaving the bottom 95% to share 15%.  A little shabbier than owning 50% of the total wealth, right?  By the time you get down to the top 10% and the bottom 90%, once again a very conservative estimate would suggest that the top 10% owns at least 95% of the total wealth and the bottom 90% (that’s you and me bunky) owns less than 5% of the total wealth.  Shabbier yet!  And the bottom 50% own significantly less than 1% of the total wealth (this one is not an extrapolation; this is verified by the report).

If you are OK with that – if “that’s the way the cookie crumbles” – well, God bless you and don’t bother reading any more of my crap; it ain’t worth your time.

The rest of you, continue to read my stuff and check out Robert Reich and Thomas Piketty.