Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Billionaires Club.

A new study from the World Institute for Development Economics Research suggests that:

The richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of global household wealth according to a path-breaking study released today by the Helsinki-based World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (UNU-WIDER).

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.

There are, it suggests over 13.5 million millionaires in the world, slightly more than 450,000 with wealth above $10m, 15,000 with wealth over $100m, and precisely 499 billionaires. How does such a tiny, tiny ruling class manage to maintain and perpetuate this state of affairs? Oh, the usual: armed retainers and ideology. Take a look how the wealth pans out in your neck of the woods (click to enlarge):