Richest 1% will control 50% of wealth by 2016

The richest 1% will control 50% of the wealth worldwide by 2016, per a new study by Oxfam.

The report also reveals that “85 billionaires have the same wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population.”

The report has a number of pretty interesting charts. I’m posting them below.

I do wonder of the recent increase in disparity is due to: 1) the global recession/depression making the poor even poorer, while 2) people with money have investments that did quite well after 2008 (the US stock market doubled in the last four years).

In fact, the report reports on this, and says it’s a variety of investments:

There are a few important economic sectors that have contributed to the accumulation of wealth of these billionaires. In March 2014, 20% of them (321) were listed as having interests or activities in, or relating to, the financial and insurance sectors, 9 the most commonly cited source of wealth for billionaires on this list. Since March 2013, there have been 37 new billionaires from these sectors, and six have dropped off the list. The accumulated wealth of billionaires from these sectors has increased from $1.01tn to $1.16tn in a single year; a nominal increase of $150bn, or 15%.

Rich 1%

Rich via Shutterstock

Between 2013 and 2014 billionaires listed as having interests and activities in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors saw the biggest increase in their collective wealth. Twenty-nine individuals joined the ranks of the billionaires between March 2013 and March 2014 (five dropped off the list), increasing the total number from 66 billionaires to 90, in 2014 making up 5% of the total billionaires on the list. The collective wealth of billionaires with interests in this sector increased from $170bn to $250bn, a 47% increase and the largest percentage increase in wealth of the different sectors on the Forbes list.

Here are a few of the more interesting charts:


I’m not entirely convinced of the trajectory on this one. One could argue that things got markedly better in 2012, when the increasing disparity finally leveled off.figure-2

This one is pretty wild. Again, I wonder about the influence of the stock market on this:


This one is pretty wild too:figure-4

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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21 Responses to “Richest 1% will control 50% of wealth by 2016”

  1. worfington says:

    Hopefully the inspiration provided by yesterday’s electoral victory in Greece can show us a way forward. The greek people have awoken and put Syriza in charge, putting an end to the disastrous rule of the oligarchs. The rest of Europe and the US need to study this vital and important development so that it can be repeated.

  2. Houndentenor says:

    Because they don’t bother to talk to anyone who isn’t a millionaire unless they are running for office, and even then only when the cameras are rolling. Never was this more obvious than when they were debating health care in 2008-2010 without seeming to understand that there are people who have jobs but don’t get health insurance through those jobs (and not just minimum wage jobs either). I used to work for the 1% and I saw this first hand. They are oblivious even when the people they should be talking to are only a few feet away. As they aren’t on their level, they don’t matter.

  3. Houndentenor says:

    You’d think this would occur to them. Obviously not. Even the Mormons are now concerned that the level of income inequality is going to make our society unstable. When you’ve lost the Mormons from the right wing economic policies, you know something is terribly wrong.

  4. Houndentenor says:

    Economic Water Sports.

  5. TheOriginalLiz says:

    And the national guard will be re-purposed to keep the serfs in line.

  6. 2karmanot says:

    Now that Romney has outdone himself flip-flopping from here to Kalob and is for the poor now—-maybe.

  7. 2karmanot says:


  8. nicho says:

    Sometimes, a “rising tide” smashes the small boats against the pier.

  9. dcinsider says:

    I believe in trickle down economics but I’ve never located the hose where all that cash trickles out of.

    Once I find it I’m going to be rich, rich, rich!

  10. Indigo says:

    Yes, of course. That is exactly why we are living in the days when a police state is developing. There’s no way to hold on to such vast wealth in the face of growing poverty other than to guarantee a police state that protects property and wealth with little regard to the populace. I’ve said it before, or at least hinted at it, that there’s a police state coming and HRC is the woMan who can make it work. That doesn’t mean I’m pro-Hillary, it means I think she can best serve our Lords & Masters on Wall Street. And that’s what the media call “electable” these days.

  11. BeccaM says:

    One of my favorite tax proposals is the financial transactions tax. A tiny percentage — often suggested to be as low as 0.25% or less — on all financial-only transactions. It would have the benefit of generating large amounts of revenue, reduce flash-program purchasing and selling, reduce stock-market churn in general, and possibly curtail the ridiculous inflation of the derivatives market, now estimated by some to be valued at well over $1 quadrillion (which, yes, is significantly higher than the GDP of the entire world, combined).

    But as far as ‘making mistakes’, the politicians are doing exactly what they are being paid to do: Enact laws that enrich the already filthy rich and protect their wealth at all costs. In other words, it’s not a mistake if it’s intentional, even if what they’re intending is plundering and robbery of the 99.99%.

  12. MyrddinWilt says:

    It isn’t the 99% vs the 1%. It is the 99.99% versus the 1% of the 1%.

    Republicans aren’t for the wealthy in general, they are for their wealthy friends, big difference.

    Obama’s popularity just spiked up and the only explanation is his proposal to transfer more of the tax burden to the wealthiest of the wealthy. It isn’t going to get anywhere in this Congress of course but it still matters a great deal.

    First off, having Obama proposing to make this type of redistributive tax change makes it much easier for Clinton or Warren to do so. Obama’s ability to pass progressive legislation is completely done. But he can move the Overton window towards the progressive end of the field.

    The second and bigger effect is that Obama has pre-empted the tax proposals of the GOP presidential hopefuls which would have reduced taxes on the 1% of the 1% and raised the deficit in the short term in the hope of using the resulting national debt as pretext for stealing all our Social Security pensions.

    I am much less bothered by the income inequality than the fact that 95% of the population have seen almost no economic improvement since the Reagan era. We get the same old rhetoric of rising tides lifting all boats, what they really mean is ‘don’t expect to do better under the Republican party unless you own a yacht’.

  13. John Doe says:

    Once again though politicians will make the same classic mistakes and enact laws and taxes that only further enrich the 1%. For anyone that has actually read Piketty, the answer is not found in any taxpayer that “earns” money. Do NOT increase taxes on earners. Increase, and increase significantly, taxes on capital and oligarchs. That is the only way to solve this issue. And, by doing so, and giving high income “earners” a break they might even side with the rest of the world. Good policy would be to separate the 1% from the .001%.

  14. keirmeister says:

    You mean Trickle-Down Economics is a big fat lie? Who knew?

  15. Mike F says:

    “The richest 1% will control 50% of the wealth worldwide by 2016, per a new study by Oxfam.”

    …and the world economy shuts down five years later, because, much like a river needs water to flow, an economy needs money, and people to spend it.

    Of course, the whole growth-based economy is a bit of a Ponzi scheme anyway, so there’s that to ponder.

  16. Indigo says:

    So it is written:
    “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.”
    Matthew 13:12 King James Version (KJV)

  17. BeccaM says:

    It would seem that at least one of the self-described ‘zillionaires’ knows that if this continues, there will be a revolt.

    The Republicans clearly have adopted the entire plutocratic platform and have fully embraced the false position that “rich = more deserving and superior human being”. Trickle-on Economics and “Tax cuts solve EVERYTHING” have become their religious dogma.

    The Dems sometimes talk a good populist line, but once in office it’s clear they don’t really mean it and that they fully intend to keep their full-on neo-liberal/pro-corporate agenda. For example, the time for soaking the rich to help the middle class and for raising the minimum wage was in January 2009 when the Dems were given the presidency and both houses of Congress. What did we get? Hand-wringing and excuses and lurches to the conservative-right in the name of phony bipartisanship. ‘Grand Bargain’ proposals to cut Social Security and ‘free trade’ agreements that always seem to end up with more American jobs being exported to 2nd and 3rd world countries.

    But mostly it was excuses as to why none of the 2008 ‘Hope & Change’ campaign promises could be kept.

    To wait until January 2015, after the GOP has taken full control of Congress, makes any populist talk nothing more than cynical posturing. Real people don’t give a flying rat’s ass about ‘sending a message’ — we care about reality and actual accomplishments.

  18. Bill_Perdue says:

    The rich and the politicians and parties they absolutely control have created an economy characterized by high unemployment and underemployment, miserable wages and poor health care, housing and educational opportunities.

    They’re creating the conditions for the political destruction of the Democrats and Republicans, twin parties of the rich, the growth and radicalization of the unions and working people and for a socialist revolution.

  19. BlueIdaho says:

    Oh good, well then the mormons can share the wealth and give some of their billions to those of us less fortunate. :)

  20. Houndentenor says:

    Even the Mormon church has acknowledged that the current level of income inequality is dangerous for a stable society. You would think that would be a wake-up call, but as I learned working for executives in lower Manhattan, such people live in a world almost completely divorced from what the other 99% consider reality.

  21. 2karmanot says:

    The Marquis St. Evermonde died mysteriously in his sleep. Je Suis Defarge!

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