24 June 2021   Leave a comment

Credit Suisse publishes an annual report on wealth in the world. The 2021 report is stunning, not only for its celebration of wealth as an end to itself, but also for its rank hypocrisy.

Niall McCarthy, writing for Statista, delivers the bad news about how wealth is distributed in the world:

“The level of financial inequality around the world is staggering. According to a new Credit Suisse report, 45.8 percent of global household wealth is in the hands of just 1.1 percent of the world’s population. Those 56 million individuals control a mind-boggling $191.6 trillion, as can be seen on the following pyramid.

“Below that, 583 million people own $163.9 trillion, 39.1 percent of global wealth, despite accounting for just 11.1 percent of the adult population. The base of the pyramid is the most poignant and it shows how 2.9 billion people (55 percent of the world’s population) share a combined wealth of $5.5 trillion which is just 1.3 percent of total wealth.”

There is one part of the report that we should all keep in mind when the right-wing castigates whose who support government intervention in the market:

The widespread negative impact on gross domestic product (GDP) was recognized early in 2020, and since reductions in the level of economic activity are typically associated with reductions in household wealth, financial markets responded in a predictable way and share prices dived in February and March. No region was immune. By the second half of March, the S&P 500 had fallen by 34%, the FTSE100 by 35%, the DAX by 39%, and the Nikkei by 31%. China was more resilient, but this did not prevent the Shanghai index from also falling, albeit by a more modest 13%. As a result, we estimate that USD 17.5 trillion was lost from total global household wealth between
January and March 2020, equivalent to a fall of 4.4%. Global wealth per adult declined by 4.7%.

“Reassured by the prompt action of governments and central banks, financial markets regained confidence and the losses in equity markets were largely reversed by the end of June…. But what happened in the second half of 2020 was unforeseen. Share prices continued on an upward path, reaching record levels by the end of the year. After initially pausing to take stock, housing markets were also infected by the prevailing optimism, and house prices rose at rates not seen for many years. These asset price increases have led to major gains in household wealth throughout the world. The net result was that USD 28.7 trillion was added to global household wealth during the year. At the end of 2020, it totaled USD 418.3 trillion, up 7.4%. Wealth per adult rose 6.0% to a new record high of USD 79,952.”

I have never seen a bank ask for the “prompt action of governments and central banks” to reduce hunger, homelessness, and medical insecurity. Apparently, the welfare of 56 million people outweighs the welfare of 2.9 billion people. I am getting very tired of this hypocritical bullshit.

Posted June 24, 2021 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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