World’s wealth distributed among top 1 percent

According to Oxfam, the number of billionaires in the world saw its largest jump in history during 2017, bringing the demographic’s total number of individuals with personal wealth in the billions up to 2,043.

The top 1 percent of wealthy affluent individuals obtained 82 percent of the world’s wealth created last year. Canada, for instance, has seen consistent growth in affluence in the last 20 years, but from 2016 to 2017 the country saw a $28 billion increase in total wealth of its billionaires.

After a $300 billion decline to $5.1 trillion in 2015, UBS and PwC report that the total wealth of the world’s billionaires rose 17 percent in 2016 to $6 trillion.

According to UBS and PricewaterhouseCoopers’ annual joint “Billionaires Report 2017: New Wealth Creators Gain Momentum,” there has been a return to growth for the billionaire community, with Asian billionaires outpacing those from the United States for the first time. In its findings, UBS and PwC examined wealth creation, but also the community contributions of the world’s billionaires, ranging from art patronage and sports team investments to how these individuals act as a workforce vehicle.

The controversial United States tax bill passed by Congress last month has given the country’s luxury business a serious boost, according to Savigny Partners.

The Savigny Luxury Index saw a 3 percent bump in December following the passage of the new tax bill, which critics feel has been designed to give more money to the wealthiest U.S. citizens. With more money and lower taxes, luxury investors are celebrating and the U.S. luxury industry felt the effects.

“The global inequality crisis is reaching frightening new levels, fueled by the choices of our political and business leaders,” said Kate Higgins, director of policy and campaigns at Oxfam Canada. “In Canada, the situation is not getting any better,” said Canadian billionaire fortunes grew by $28 billion last year alone. Canada’s billionaires are becoming more common, with a jump of 24 from 2000 to today, and these individuals are all male.

For its calculations, Oxfam’s looked at global wealth distribution data provided by the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Data book 2017 and Forbes’ 2017 billionaires list.

OxFam’s latest report “Reward Work, Not Wealth,” found that nine out of 10 billionaires worldwide are men. While the total wealth of these individuals has increased, the bottom half of non-wealthy individuals saw no rise at all.

In the United States, the country’s three wealthiest individuals have the same amount of capital as the combined lower half of the total population.

Individuals surveyed by Oxfam believe that the gap between the top percent and lower half needs to be addressed, with 66 percent agreeing. About 60 percent of respondents believe that it is the government’s job to help fix this situation.

From 2006 to 2015, standard workers saw only a yearly 2 percent increase in wages, while billionaires saw an increase of 13 percent a year, a six times faster rate.

Also, 42 affluent individuals from around the world have the same amount of wealth as the entire 3.7 billion bottom-half individuals. The top 1 percent owns more wealth than the rest of the world combined.

Oxfam believes that the top 10 percent should not have more income than the combined bottom 40 percent. The organization believes that ending extreme wealth will end severe poverty.

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