Paul L. Caron

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Top 1% Captured 82% Of The Wealth Created In 2017

Oxfam, Reward Work, Not Wealth:

Last year saw the biggest increase in billionaires in history, one more every two days. Billionaires saw their wealth increase by $762bn in 12 months. This huge increase could have ended global extreme poverty seven times over. 82% of all wealth created in the last year went to the top 1%, while the bottom 50% saw no increase at all. Dangerous, poorly paid work for the many is supporting extreme wealth for the few. Women are in the worst work, and almost all the super-rich are men. Governments must create a more equal society by prioritizing ordinary workers and small-scale food producers instead of the rich and powerful.

Figure 1

(Hat Tip: Ted Seto.)

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"The Top 1% Captured 82% Of The Wealth Created In 2017"

Translation: Their existing investments increased in value.

"This huge increase could have ended global extreme poverty seven times over."

Before or after they liquidated their short-term gains and paid hefty state and federal taxes?

Posted by: MM | Jan 26, 2018 6:48:59 AM

Wow. Just 1% of the people create 82% of the wealth. The rest of us slackers had better start trying to do better.

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Jan 26, 2018 8:12:17 AM

Global 1% is an annual income/wealth transfer of $32,400. By definition and standard federal wealth transfers, if you are an American you are in the global 1%. Given wealth is primarily in equity, the sort of wealth confiscation advocated by Oxfam would result in far larger long-term poverty and decreased standard of living than it would alleviate.

Posted by: P | Jan 27, 2018 7:58:22 AM

@ P, I wish we had a like button, because I like your comments.

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Jan 28, 2018 6:03:06 AM

P is right, but Oxfam's goal is not really to reduce poverty, but to reduce inequality -- two very different things.

Posted by: Mike Petrik | Jan 28, 2018 6:15:42 AM

P.S. If you asked Oxfam if he would be willing to accept even greater inequality if its consequence would be the elimination of poverty what do you think he would say?

Posted by: Mike Petrik | Jan 28, 2018 6:17:54 AM

Americans are about 5% of the world's population, so even if every American was richer than every non-American, Americans would not be the top 1% of the world.

But of course Americans are not very rich. The median western european household has a much higher net worth than the median American household.

Posted by: Americans not so rich | Jan 30, 2018 7:01:23 PM