People discuss a lot about wealth inequality, today about the fact that the richest 1% of the Earth’s population have much more than the other 99% combined. Much of this discussion appears to be about the United States but it is shocking to me that inequality is a global phenomenon as well.
I did some research on the topic, and here is what I found, which is taken from reliable sources like UN reports. It seems that, although the United States is not affected at all, things are really bad for most of the world. Let’s start with this graph – where we see an ideal fair distribution of money among all people, divided into five equal groups according to their physical class. Now, let’s see how much each group of people has in our real world. Shocking, right? Eighty percent of the world’s population have little money.
It is hard to even notice in the drawing. Whereas, I mean 2% of people … have more money than all the other people of the Earth combined. Let’s look at this drawing from another perspective. Let us take the entire population of the world – seven billion people – and reduce them to just 100. Here they are, the poorest people on the left, and the richest ones on the right. Now let’s see how the world’s wealth, amounting to $ 223 trillion, is distributed. The vast majority of people have almost nothing. Nothing is enough to educate their children, nothing is enough to pay for basic medical treatment …. While for the richest 1%, they collected 43% of the wealth of our world alone. On the other hand, the poorest 80% of the Earth’s population – 8 people out of 10 of us – together have just 6% of the world’s wealth.
But even this does not show the situation we have really reached. The 300 richest people on the planet have the same numbers as the poorest 3 billion people. In other words, a group of people who can board a medium-sized commercial airliner have more wealth than the people of India, China, the United States. We can see this difference geographically as well. A huge and growing gap separates a few rich countries on the one hand, and the rest of the world on the other.
Throughout most of human history, equality has been much greater. 200 years ago, the wealth of the richest countries on Earth was only three times the wealth of poor countries. But by the end of the colonial era in the sixties, this gap had widened to a difference of 35 times. Today, the difference between rich and poor countries is 80 times greater. Rich countries try to reduce this difference by providing aid to poor countries – about $ 130 billion USD each year.
That’s a lot of money. So why is the gap between rich and poor countries still widening? One of the reasons I found is that large companies take $ 900 billion from poor countries every year in the form of a tax avoidance called “market anomaly” (a way to legally circumvent the tax system, with a view to lowering the tax on an individual or company). Moreover, every year poor countries pay another $ 600 billion to rich countries in the form of loan services, which they have already returned to rich countries many times before. After all, there is money that poor countries lose from the trade restrictions and restrictions that rich countries impose to obtain more natural resources and cheap labor from poor regions. Economists from the University of Massachusetts estimate the cost of the costs to poor countries as a result of about $ 500 billion each year. In sum, all these costs together amount to two trillion US dollars that the poorest countries of the world pay for the richest each year.
Rich governments like to say constantly that they help poor countries to develop, but in reality who is helping the other? This makes me think that the fundamental rules on which the global economy is based are flawed. It cannot be overlooked that the entire wealth of our planet is locked in the hands of so many people. The only reasonable solution, it seems to me, and our only hope, is to change the rules.