Oxfam released a study last month announcing that 8 of the world’s richest people possessed the same amount of wealth as the world’s poorest half.
Let that sink in for a moment!
Eight people possess the same wealth as 3.6 billion people who make up the world’s poorest half of the global population.
The story of economic inequality in America and the world is not a new story. It has been unfolding and worsening for some time.
- Currently the rate of economic inequality in America is worse than at any point in American history since 1928 (the year before the start of the Great Depression).
- After accounting for taxes and transfers, the United States has the second highest level of inequality among the world’s developed countries. This has increased under both Republican and Democrat leadership.
- Americans in the top 10% income bracket earn an average of almost 9 times more than those in the bottom 90%. Those in the famous top 1% earn a whopping thirty-eight times more than those in the bottom 90%.
- A lot of press coverage and protest activity has been directed against income inequality but the bigger story is about wealth inequality. In the United States, the top 20% own 88.9% of all the wealth in the country.
Economic inequality is one of the primary unseen drivers that is pushing global and domestic polarization. In this environment of extreme economic inequality those at the top see things different than those at the bottom. And let us not forget the strained segments who make up the middle class and are divided between both. Those varying perspective easily coalesce into impassioned protests and schemes for personal justice.
Four years ago the End of History covered this topic in a 13 part podcast series. At that time we predicted the rise of polarization and protest that was coming and that we are now seeing happen today. The rise of populist nationalism around the world is partly driven by this global trend of economic inequality.
If you are interested in understanding what is going on today, it is HIGHLY recommended that you download this podcast series. Forget the traditional narratives more targeted toward partisan politics. This series looks at the reality and the facts of where we are and how we got here. As 2017 rolls along we can say with quite a bit of confidence that it also accurately predicted where this was going.
You might also like some of these infographics that were released with the podcast series in 2013.