Wealth inequaltiy worldwide

May 18, 2013

Following the recent wealth inequality in America video that has gone viral on youtube, /The Rules, an organization and movement to “bring power back to people, and change the rules that create inequality and poverty around the world,” has put together a very similar video that uses the same statistical graphics to describe wealth inequality on a global scale.

The displayed statistics are all taken from credible sources (e.g. the UNDP Human Development Reports, OECD, World Bank etc.)

In an accompanying article, Jason Hickel, one of the people behind /The Rules and a lecturer at the London School of Economics, elaborates on the issue:

In the video we say that the richest 300 people on earth have more wealth than the poorest 3bn – almost half the world’s population. We chose those numbers because it makes for a clear and memorable comparison, but in truth the situation is even worse: the richest 200 people have about $2.7 trillion, which is more than the poorest 3.5bn people, who have only $2.2 trillion combined. It is very difficult to wrap one’s mind around such extreme figures. But we wanted to do more than just illustrate the brutal extent of inequality; we also wanted to demonstrate that it has been getting progressively worse. A recent Oxfam report shows that “the richest 1 percent has increased its income by 60 percent in the last 20 years, with the financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process”, while the income of the top 0.01 percent has seen even greater growth. The video shows how this widening disparity operates between countries. During the colonial period, the gap between the richest countries and the poorest countries widened from 3:1 to 35:1, in part because European powers extracted so much wealth from the Global South in the form of resources and labour. Since then, that gap has grown to almost 80:1. How is this possible?

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