Gross Inequality

I am not typically one to employ Biblical quotes, but the news article which follows–and, gee, it’s been so widely reported–invites this classic: “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

From OneWorld.net:

Richest 2 Percent Own Half the World’s Wealth

The richest 2 percent of adults in the world own more than half the world’s wealth, according to a new study released by the Helsinki-based World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University.

The study’s authors say their work is the most comprehensive study of personal wealth ever undertaken. They found the richest 1 percent of adults owned 40 percent of global assets in the year 2000, and that the richest 10 percent of adults accounted for 85 percent of the world’s total.

In contrast, the assets of half of the world’s adult population account for barely 1 percent of global wealth.

“It reflects the extreme nature of inequality around the world,” one of the study’s authors, New York University Professor Edward Wolff, told OneWorld. “Yes, we are richer than Africa and Latin America and most of Asia, but how much richer is what hadn’t really been established until our study came out,” Wolff added.

According to the report, the average American’s wealth amounted to $144,000 in the year 2000, more than 100 times higher than the average Indian or Indonesian, whose assets totaled $1,100 and $1,400, respectively.

The study defined wealth as physical and financial assets–like personal savings and home, land, and stock ownership–less debts.

Besides the United States, only Canada, Western Europe, Japan, and Israel showed average personal wealth of more than $50,000. [full text]

Yeah, and they only hate us for our freedom.

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3 responses

  1. David, coincidental that those with the most wealth happen to be free capitalist nations? And when did Western Europe become one country?

    “You might as well ask why bees have so much more honey than other creatures.” So says Thomas Sowell, who offers an excellent rebuttal to your blame America conclusion, which can be found at:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/12/just_what_is_the_worlds_wealth.html

  2. yo, Mike.

    Who’s blaming America? The article simply points out the level of inequality that exists. Why is pointing out a fact “blaming” America?

    Right, because facts have a liberal bias.

    And the whole “honey” quote is offensive beyond words. Americans are ordained by God or Nature to have more money than the rest of the world? Wow. That takes arrogance to unbelievable levels.

    And David’s right about the Biblical quote. If you read the New Testament, Jesus has a lot of mostly negative things to say about the wealthy. So, are you anti-Christian, too? Just asking.

  3. PS. I read the link. If this is the best you can do for “evidence,” then there really isn’t much to discuss.

    A guy named Buckle came out with the “geography is destiny” philosophy in the 18th century. In the mid- 20th century, Toynbee refined the idea when he talked about the level of challenge posed by different ecosystems, and how the challenge couldn’t be too severe (Innuit) or too easy.

    That neither of these gentlemen are exactly household words indicates that neither of these theories were accepted as conventional wisdom.

    So, ‘excellent rebuttal’ is a bit of a laugh. Thanks for the joke, Mike.

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