The acceleration of a global Gilded Age: Half of the world’s wealth now owned by one percent of the population. Bottom half of world population own the same as the richest 85 people in the world.

Wealth inequality across the globe has reached epic proportions.  While many bankers roll around in piles of digital million dollar bonuses for basically adding no value to the economy, the rest of the world struggles to enter this modern economic era.  The perception is that this is only happening across the world in other nations.  Unfortunately the US has done an excellent job of exporting the middle class and creating a widening gap between rich and poor.  A report by Oxfam International highlighted the dramatic wealth inequality that now plagues the world.  Half of the world’s wealth is now owned by the top one percent of the population.  Interestingly enough this pattern is also unfolding here in the United States.  The global banking system has protected its own interests and to what end?  It appears that a modern day global Gilded Age is now unfolding.

The generational robbery of the working and middle class

Wealth is the true measure of economic success.  These are assets that people own. This can be a home, car, stocks, bonds, art, or anything else.  For most Americans, most of their wealth is tied up in their primary home of residence.  This used to be a safe bet but now banks have co-opted this market and have purchased up roughly 30 percent of all single family homes as speculative vehicles going back to 2008.  So the purpose of circumventing accounting rules and jacking up the Fed’s balance sheet was essentially to make it easy for banks and hedge funds to swoop in and purchase properties on the cheap while many Americans were booted out of their homes?

What is more telling is that from 1983 to 2010, most of the wealth gains have gone to the top five percent:

wealth-change-epi

Over 74 percent of all household wealth growth went to the top five percent over this generation long period.  The bottom 60 percent actually fell behind during this same period.  So much for the middle class keeping up.

The report found some global patterns at play here:

• Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one per cent of the population.

• The wealth of the one per cent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.

• The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.

• Seven out of 10 people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.

• The richest one per cent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which Oxfam has data between 1980 and 2012.

• In the U.S., the wealthiest one per cent captured 95 per cent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 per cent became poorer.

This helps to explain why food stamp usage is at an all-time high while the stock market makes new records.  People may question where this growing poor is coming from and the answer comes from the shrinking middle class.

You can see this growing inequality also in income as measured by the Gini Ratio for all US households:

gini ratio

Household income inequality is at record levels, even surpassing those that occurred prior to the Great Depression.  The report had some startling details that many are living through including:

-Many young people struggling to find employment in tighter job markets

-Rising social unrest from young (i.e., Spain, Greece, etc)

-A rising tide of lost generation attitudes among the young

It would be one thing if wealth was actually shrinking but instead it is actually growing.  As the report mentioned, the top one percent control $110 trillion of actual wealth.  This is multiple times larger than the annual GDP of the US.  Of course the financier class would like to make it seem that this was all gotten fair and square instead of co-opting government officials to make laws that favor the connected and slam the working and middle class.  Of course the media chooses not to go into any depth on this for fear of waking people up.

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