Just Merveilleux

Life at № 42

Some numbers that’ll shock you

I was looking through the 2014 Credit Suisse wealth report– which shows just how precarious the situation on this planet really is. Most of us in developed nations have no clue. 

You think life is a struggle? That you don’t make enough? Let me put it in very simple terms. A person needs only $3,650 (€3200) in assets to be among the wealthiest 50% of the world’s population. A used car on its own does it for you. Welcome to the club, you’re wealthier than 3.65 billion people.

If you want to be at the top 10%, then you need assets of $77,000. That can be in the form of equity in your home. That represents over 60% of people in a developed country like the UK. If that’s you, you’re wealthier than 6.57 billion people in a population of 7.3 billion.

Then there’s a bit of a jump, but not an unfathomable one for people who live in big cities like London, Paris or NY. To be part of the top 1% of global wealth holders, a person needs $798,000 (£508,000) in assets; which is basically a one bedroom apartment in Hampstead, or the balcony of a one bedroom apartment in Belgravia.

But up to there, shocking as it is, we’re still in comprehensible territory. The real eye-opener is when you get to the very top. The 85 wealthiest people in the world own as much as the 3.5 billion people at the bottom of the pyramid. 85 versus 3.5 billion.

The most interesting aspect of all this is society’s deluded notions of a middle class. We all like to think of the middle as people who own a home, have a decent car, send their children to university… but that’s not the middle, that’s the top. Not the very top, but very much the top. The middle, if we go by The World Bank Economist, Branko Milanovic, is an yearly income of $1,225. Yearly, that’s the whole year. Per year.

Happy wednesday morning to you too.

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18 comments on “Some numbers that’ll shock you

  1. acflory
    June 17, 2015

    Dear god….that makes us both filthy rich???? I feel kind of sick.

    Like

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      June 17, 2015

      Exactly.

      Like

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      June 17, 2015

      And it really doesn’t feel that way when one is cleaning a toilet 🙂

      Like

      • acflory
        June 17, 2015

        No! But I definitely won’t be complaining about my life for…at least a day or two. 🙂

        Seriously, I’m sure we’ve both railed against that greedy 1% that hogs all the good in life, leaving just the crumbs for us. I guess that must now mean we leave less than a stain for everyone else.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mr. Merveilleux
        June 17, 2015

        It’s all relative; but of course there’s a dramatic difference between our end of the 1% and the top end. The main thing being that we’re not part of a machine that’s designed to exploit.

        Like

      • acflory
        June 17, 2015

        Yes, and that does make me feel a little better. The old catholic in me still cringes with guilt though. Some things never go away.

        Like

  2. Hariod Brawn
    June 17, 2015

    Who cares?

    I am serious; because unless enough do, and by that I mean rebellion, then the corporate psychopaths will eat us all alive.

    Happy Wednesday morning to you too Mr. M.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. foolsmusings
    June 17, 2015

    When Oxfam wrote a similar report last year suggesting that inequality was destroying democracy, they were actually told by some filthy rich douchebag that they had better keep their mouthes shut or the wealthy would stop funding them. It immediately proved their hypothesis.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. WrenchMonkey47
    June 17, 2015
  5. agrudzinsky
    June 17, 2015

    Are there any practical conclusions from this information? Should anything be done about it other than reflecting on the vanity of this universe?

    Like

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      June 17, 2015

      Of course something should be done about it. Society should be restructured in a better way. The post world war II system was tough, but at least it gave people a chance.

      Like

  6. agrudzinsky
    June 17, 2015

    It is hard to draw any conclusions from these numbers. For instance, a person earning $2000 per month in Ukraine would be able to live in a good apartment in the capital of the country, afford going to theaters and concerts once every few weeks, and spend a vacation each year in Turkey, Europe, or go to some exotic place like Indonesia. Whereas, in the U.S., a person making $5,000 per month might not be able to afford an annual vacation in Europe, for example. Even the basic survival level might be so different in different parts of the world. $10 per month in some parts of the world would allow a person a better living than $100 per month in those “developed countries”. A person with $3,300 in the U.S. would be below the median in the U.S. whereas a person with $3,300 in some African country might be in the top 5%.

    This is much like pondering that there is a black hole of ~4 million solar masses at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Yes, it is mind-boggling, but has no practical effect on our day-to-day life.

    Like

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      June 17, 2015

      That’s not entirely true, because your $10 example isn’t a reality. No one lives well anywhere for $100 per month. Not the least of which because a country that has that as a minimum wage most probably doesn’t give access to quality services or healthcare.
      The $2000 Ukraine example is reasonable because it’s in the realm of possibility for 2nd tier economy European countries. The same would be true for Portugal, or Spain. $2000 is a respectable salary in those places.

      Like

  7. appletonavenue
    June 19, 2015

    I have thought for a long long time there has been no middle class. Only those that can afford to live, and those that cannot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      June 19, 2015

      It’s a total sham. In Spain around 65% of people live on salaries of 1000 euros per month. Where’s the middle in that? Is that supposed to be the middle?

      Liked by 2 people

      • appletonavenue
        June 19, 2015

        I only know that I needed to simplify my life greatly to decrease my spending and debt, and I’ve never been happier. I may be “middle class” only bringing in $1700 per month, certainly not nearly enough to live on if I were alone. My rent is $1500 per month, and that’s for a 900sf 1 ba apt. Luckily I have a spouse to provide another $1900 a month so we can still eat and afford to put fuel in our cars.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. theoccasionalman
    June 22, 2015

    Wow. My used car is only worth about half that, so maybe I’m not that rich. My income is significantly more than the 50% mark, though. With child support, that wouldn’t cover one month of bills.

    Like

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