role of the best 1% people in social matters
troubles me for years. How much do we depend on them? Does it
justify their privileges? On the subject of the "richest
1%" Iíve commented recently . So, when I spotted
the BBC graphic (above, right), Iíve thought I would easily
update that story. It didnít turn out this way.
the start, I was stun by the immense number of the WW1%, millions
of them: 44 million on the above graphic, 47 million adults
according to Credit Suisse - everyone with wealth of US$798,000 or
more. Obviously, I fell for the phrase which conjures up images of
billionaires living on private islands while accumulation of
wealth is a global process in our time: the wealthiest 1% have
seen their share of global wealth increase from 44% in 2009 to 48%
in 2014. Those numbers indicate that WW1% are counted relatively
to wealthy people only, i.e. upper percentile of the wealth scale.
The bank Credit Suisse estimated total global household wealth in
2014 at 263 trillion US$.
the Credit Suisse's report doesn't tell the whole story. To
accommodate for some shortcomings, Iíve built the table
(rollover the above graphic). For instance, column B is wealth,
not income; it is calculated as assets minus debt. But income is
in the very base of the wealth accumulation, it should matter
(column G). Many well-paid
people in Western countries may fall into the bottom 50% of wealth
- either because they still have student debt to pay off, or
because they know how to live well, and spend all their income.
the Credit Suisse's report doesn't take into account how much it
costs to buy goods in each country. The WW1% include many people
in rich countries who may not regard themselves as particularly
wealthy, but who simply own their house outright or have paid off
a significant chunk off their mortgage. Germany has the biggest
economy in Europe. The reason it has fewer wealthy people - by
Credit Suisse's measure - is that it has lower levels of home
country with the largest proportion of its population in the 1%
per capita is Switzerland. One in 10 Swiss residents - 800,000 out
of 8m - have assets worth more than $798,000. On the other hand,
the Swiss WW1% are "cheapest" to produce (column F).
If entry into the 1% does not guarantee a
jet-set lifestyle, this is even truer when it comes to the cut-off
point for the wealthiest 10% - for this you only need US$ 77,000
And the figure required to be in the top half
of the world's wealthiest is just US$ 3,650.
a poor world we live in .