Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
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.