What makes this year more special than any other? This is the year that the very worst class war rhetoric becomes the reality.
Oxfam has gotten into the admirable habit of releasing a report about global inequality each year right when the Davos summit is happening, so that the people at Davos have something to talk about, rather than just sitting around pulling their collars. Last year, Oxfam noted that the wealthiest 1% of people were close to controlling a majority of the world’s wealth. And now, the newly released inequality report for this year says that 2016 could be the year it all happens! From Oxfam:
Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More, a research paper published today by Oxfam, shows that the richest 1 percent have seen their share of global wealth increase from 44 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2014 and at this rate will be more than 50 percent in 2016. Members of this global elite had an average wealth of $2.7 million per adult in 2014.
Of the remaining 52 percent of global wealth, almost all (46 percent) is owned by the rest of the richest fifth of the world’s population. The other 80 percent share just 5.5 percent and had an average wealth of $3,851 per adult – that’s 1/700th of the average wealth of the 1 percent.
The other good talking point from this report is the calculation that the world’s 62 wealthiest people now have the same amount of wealth as the bottom 50% of the world’s population, meaning, oh, three and a half billion people. This is a good “conversation starter” to use at Davos, as you kidnap someone for ransom.
Years from now you can look back and tell your grandkids about 2016, the year when shit really, really got fucked up.
[The full 2015 report. Photo: AP]