We’ve heard the expression all our lives: The rich get richer. But never has that been more true than it is right now, according to Oxfam in a report released prior to the annual gathering of the super-rich and policy makers in Davos, Switzerland.
The Oxfam report warns that within the next two years–by 2017–the top 1% will have accumulated more wealth than the remaining 99% of people on the planet. You read that right: on the planet! So the warnings we have been reading about over the past several years would appear to be accurate in suggesting that the rich have gotten progressively wealthier while the rest of us have either stayed at even or slipped backwards in the global economy.
The specifics of the report are, to put it mildly, sobering:
“In 2014, the richest 1% of people in the world owned 48% of global wealth, leaving just 52% to be shared between the other 99% of adults on the planet,” Oxfam says.
And the most often cited source of wealth for this uber-wealthy elite is money from investments and a connection to Wall Street. Oxfam estimates that members of what it calls the “world’s richest” club–think Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Michael Bloomberg–make, on average, $500,000 a minute. Yes, a half million for every minute of the day.
Here’s another example of how out of proportion the income gap has grown across the world: In 2010, it took 388 billionaires to be valued at a level equal to the wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population. In 2014, that number decreased to 80. So 3.5 billion people put together owned the same amount as 80 wealthy people. And the gap, Oxfam says, is only growing with each year.
The blame for this widening gap in wealth may be partially due to “expansionary monetary policy,” i.e. government and national banks such as the Federal Reserve in the U.S. buying more and more government-issued debt in an attempt to stabilize both national and international economic systems. Since the wealthy are more heavily invested in stocks and equities than others, they reap the benefits of these financial safeguards.
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “The rich are very different from you and I.” And they’re getting richer by the minute.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org