The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

World Wealth

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Sometimes people get put out because they feel the US pays more than its share of world needs. And it is true that the raw numbers are higher from the US than from other nations.

The issue reveals something important, though: We know too little about how very rich the US is compared to the rest of the world. Look below and see a truly astonishing fact: 34% of all the wealth that exists in human civilization resides in North America.   Breathe deeply and think on that.  One third. “So what,” one might ask, “ought to be the US’ share of world needs?” [See the related post What percent of US budget goes to foreign aid?]

Read the specs:

How the world’s wealth is distributed –

the top two percent own half

Where's the money in our world?

Gizmag, in 2006, summarized a study on The World Distribution of Household Wealth by the Helsinki-based World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University:

Wealth is heavily concentrated in North America, Europe, and high income Asia-Pacific countries. People in these countries collectively hold almost 90% of total world wealth. (Figure 2: Regional Wealth Shares) Although North America has only 6% of the world adult population, it accounts for 34% of household wealth. Europe and high income Asia-Pacific countries also own disproportionate amounts of wealth. In contrast, the overall share of wealth owned by people in Africa, China, India, and other lower income countries in Asia is considerably less than their population share, sometimes by a factor of more than ten. […]

[T]he richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of global household wealth. The most comprehensive study of personal wealth ever undertaken also reports that the richest 1% of adults alone owned 40% of global assets in the year 2000, and that the richest 10% of adults accounted for 85% of the world total. In contrast, the bottom half of the world adult population owned barely 1% of global wealth. […]

Hear it?  The bottom half of our world’s people own barely 1% of global wealth.

We have no idea.

Let’s change it.


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Written by Monte

September 30, 2008 at 6:04 pm

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