This report is the result of a data amassment which makes it possible to provide better answers to almost every question about what is happening to inequality world-wide. The answer is not pretty.
In every large region of the world with the exception of Europe, the share of the bottom 50% in total earnings is less than 15% (less than ten in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and the MENAS region) while the share of the richest 10% is over 40% and in many of the regions, closer to 60%. But what is perhaps even more striking is what is happening to wealth. The share of the bottom 50% of the world in total global wealth is 2% by their estimates, while the share of the top 10% is 76%. Since wealth is a major source of future economic gains, and increasingly, of power and influence, this presages further increases in inequality. Indeed, at the heart of this explosion is the extreme concentration of the economic power in the hands of a very small minority of the super-rich. The wealth of the top 10% globally, which constitutes the middle class in rich countries and the merely rich in poor countries is actually growing slower than the world average, but the top 1% is growing much faster: between 1995 and 2021, the top 1% captured 38% of the global increment in wealth, while the bottom 50% captured a frightening 2%. The share of wealth owned by the global top 0.1% rose from 7% to 11% over that period and global billionaire wealth soared. With the boom in the stock market, the picture does not seem to be getting better.
This report examines inequalities across income, wealth, gender, and carbon emissions and explores the policy responses to redistributing wealth.
The report once again makes it clear that profound policy changes are needed for things to fall back in place. The policy solutions often exist, and when they don’t, we often know how to find them.