Monday, March 15, 2010
One reads all the time that the rich are getting richer, that the gap between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have nots, is widening. Few things bring this disturbing trend home like the Forbes annual survey of the richest people in the world.
One of the nuggets gleaned from Forbes self-congratulatory report on the world's richest people is that the last year has seen billionaires total wealth skyrocket. The combined wealth of today’s 1,011 global billionaires is estimated by Forbes at $3.6 trillion, a 50% increase over the $2.4 trillion in billionaire wealth calculated last year. Our Future.org quotes Forbes glowing assessment of this situation, "Last year's wealth wasteland has become a billionaire bonanza. Most of the richest people on the planet have seen their fortunes soar in the past year." As Out Future.org notes, based on the latest available United Nations data (2000) the world's billionaires, some 1,000 people have more money than the collective wealth of the world’s poorest 1.5 billion adults. America leads the way with 403 billionaires. The U.S. commands 38% of the collective $3.6 trillion net worth of the world's richest people.
And frankly unsustainable. There is no long term way that such a situation holds, the salient question is going to be will the transition be smooth or revolutionary.