a wonderful tribute to capitalism that the wealthiest country on earth contains
10% of the world’s poorest adults. What
more convincing evidence could one have that the ‘trickle down’ theory is a
load of nonsense. That the only way to
ensure an equality of wealth outcomes is to use fiscal instruments such as
higher taxation and welfare spending.
Even better to take what used to be called the commanding heights of the
economy into public ownership so that the benefit of wealth production is shared
then we should know that anyway. Look at
what the market is doing to housing.
Prices go sky high and no one who is young can afford to get on the
ladder if they earn below £50,000 or more.
of America’s 243 million adults are part of the world’s
By Paul Buchheit
October 19, 2015 “Information
Clearing House” – Bernie
Sanders showed his outrage about inequality at the
Democratic Debate, and more and more Americans are
understanding his message. Indignation is likely to grow
with new data from the Credit Suisse
Global Wealth Databook, which reveals the wealthy
elite’s continuing disdain for the poor, for the middle
class, and for people all around the world.
Some of the most troubling disparities
are hidden in the myriad tables of this remarkably
comprehensive publication. The purpose here is to
translate the numbers into wealth gap realities that
victimize the great majority of Americans. Details can
be viewed at
You Deserve Facts.
1. At the Bottom: Of the
Half-Billion Poorest Adults in the World, One out of Ten
is an American
That seems impossible, with so many
extremely poor countries, and it requires a second look
at the data, and then a third look. But it’s true. In
the world’s poorest decile (bottom 10%), one out of ten
are Americans, many of whom are burdened with so much
debt that any remnant of
tangible wealth is negated. Other nations have high
debt, most notably in Europe, but without an excessive
burden on their poorest citizens.
Incredibly, then, nearly 50 million of
America’s 243 million adults are part of the
world’s poorest 10%. In contrast, over 110
million American adults are among the
world’s richest 10%.
2. At the Top: The Richest
1/10 of American Adults Have Averaged Over $1 Million
Each in New Wealth Since the Recession
Housing rebound? Mostly for the rich,
along with their taking of
the financial wealth. Total U.S. wealth increased by a
stunning 60 percent since 2009, from $54 trillion to $86
trillion, but 3/4 of that massive increase went to the
richest 10% of Americans.
The average one-percenter
has accumulated $5 MILLION since the recession.
3. In the Middle: The US is
the Only Region Where the Middle-Class Does Not Own Its
Equivalent Share of Wealth
The North American middle class, as
defined by Credit Suisse, and of which the U.S. is by
far the largest part, has 39% of the people but only 21
percent of national wealth. Every other
region of the world shows the reverse phenomenon, with
the middle class owning an oversized portion of national
The Credit Suisse
Global Wealth Report states: “The average wealth of
middle-class adults in North America is barely half the
average for all adults. In contrast, middle-class wealth
per adult in Europe is 130% of the regional average; the
middle class in China is three times better off in
wealth terms than the country as a whole; and the
average wealth of the middle class in both India and
Africa is ten times the level of those in the rest of
4. In the Upper-Middle: For a
Full 70% of Americans, Percentage Ownership of National
Wealth is One of the Lowest in the World
Not just the most impoverished, or the poorest half, but
a full 70% of us are near the bottom of the world in
percentage of wealth ownership. Just 6.9 percent of the
wealth is owned by 70% of us. All other reporting
nations range between about 13 and 30 percent.
5. The Big Picture: Only
Kazakhstan, Libya, Russia, and Ukraine Have Worse Wealth
Inequality than the United States
That’s among countries with at least a
million adults (see
details for a discussion of the outlier Denmark).
The global Gini is also
higher, at .91, reflecting the dramatically greater
disparity between nations
rather than within them.
Barack Obama once
said, “I believe America is exceptional.” The
inequality data proves him right.
Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member
of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and
educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org,
RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of “American
Wars: Illusions and Realities” (Clarity Press). He can be
[email protected]. Via