World Inequality increases

World inequality report
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From economist Michael Roberts’ blog

The world has become more unequal in income and wealth in the last 40 years.  That’s according to the World Inequality Report 2022, available here.  Produced by the World Inequality Lab, run by Thomas Piketty and a group of over 100 analysts from around the world, the report has the most up-to-date and complete data on the various facets of inequality worldwide: global wealth, income, gender and ecological inequality.

The report shows how in 2021, “after three decades of trade and financial globalisation, global inequalities remain extremely pronounced … about as great today as they were at the peak of Western imperialism in the early 20th century.” Although the World Inequality report found inequalities between nations had declined since the end of the cold war (mainly due to the rise in living standards in China), it said inequality had increased withinmost countries and had become more pronounced as a result of the global pandemic over the past two years.

The global concentration of personal wealth is extreme.  According to the WIR, the richest 10% of adults in the world own around 60-80% of wealth, while the poorest half have less than 5%. 

The last two years of the pandemic have only accelerated inequality.  

During the first waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, global billionaires’ wealth grew by $3.7 trillion. According to Chancel, this amount is “almost equivalent to the total annual spending on public health by all governments in the world before the pandemic — approximately $4-trillion.” (Total spending on health from all sources was $7.8-trillion in 2017 according to the WHO).  But in the same period, 100 million more people around the world have been thrown into extreme poverty as a result of Covid.

And it is the rich that make the most carbon emissions (through transport and travel) and reap the most of the benefits of the vaccines to avoid disease or death.  

See Michael Roberts blog here