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Economic inequality is rapidly increasing in the majority of
countries. The wealth of the world is divided in two: almost half
going to the richest one percent; the other half to the remaining 99
percent. The World Economic Forum has identified this as a major
risk to human progress. Extreme economic inequality and political
capture are too often interdependent. Left unchecked, political
institutions become undermined and governments overwhelmingly
serve the interests of economic elites to the detriment of ordinary
people. Extreme inequality is not inevitable, and it can and must be
Given the scale of rising wealth concentrations, opportunity capture and
unequal political representation are a serious and worrying trend. For
• Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of
• The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to
$110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the
• The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the
richest 85 people in the world.
• Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality
has increased in the last 30 years.
• The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of
26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012.
• In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-
financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent
This dangerous trend can be reversed. The good news is that there are
clear examples of success, both historical and current. The US and
Europe in the three decades after World War II reduced inequality while
growing prosperous. Latin America has significantly reduced inequality in
the last decade – through more progressive taxation, public services,
social protection and decent work. Central to this progress has been
popular politics that represent the majority, instead of being captured by
a tiny minority. This has benefited all, both rich and poor.
Thanks for posting this. Very interesting read - and very encouraging.
Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one complaining....and it's good to know that there are influential groups out there doing more than just complaining (which is about all I can do - beyond making ends meet.)