Friday, 22 January 2016

Meet The New Rich, Same As Old New Rich

It’s that time of year again when Oxfam point a bony finger, and say that the richest 1% of the world’s population now has as much wealth as the rest of the world combined. It further makes the remarkable claim (well unless you read last year’s report), that the richest 62 people in the world had as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population (last year it was 85 people).

Of course the accusations about the top 10% and top 1% carry a caveat or two:

  • Firstly: Credit Suisse (who do the maths for Oxfam) suggests that its estimates of the proportion of wealth held by the 10% and the 1% is "likely to err on the low side".
  • Secondly: It makes guesstimates of levels of wealth in countries from which accurate statistics are not available.
  • Finally: The figures required to get in to the top 10% and top 1% (but not the top 62 people, obviously), are remarkably low by West European/North American standards .... cash and assets worth just $68,800 (£48,300) to get into the top 10%, and only $760,000 (£533,000) to be in the top 1%. 
New Top 65 Ultra Rich .... Much The Same As Old Rich 85

However, before the wealth redistribution campaigners (usually a bunch who live off the back of taxpayers via welfare benefits), start burning banks and shops, in their usual riotous 'peaceful protests', consider this: These are not some esoteric figures, because if you own an average house in the UK (without a mortgage), you will be in the top 10%, while if you live in London and own a house without a mortgage, you are probably in the top 1% .... and even if not living in London, with their pension pots, house value, and cash savings, several million UK inhabitants are in that same top 1%.

So its not some mythical bunch of 'millionaires' or rich fat-cats, its actually just you and I. 


  1. If the top 10% aren't that rich, it means that the other 90% have even less than we all thought!

    1. Actually the figures being set so low, the suspicion has to be that the Oxfam are playing politics with these vast sums owned by the top 10%. Its obvious that western European and North American citizens who own a house do not constitute the rich bad guys of the world, so the figures are being set for shock effect. If we said for example that £2.5 million (approx $3.5 million) was rich (in the sense of being what we used to call a 'millionaires' spending power), then these percentages for poor and wealthy would not look so stark (and I don't mean Tony Stark).


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