Feb 3, 2016

62 people own half the world

If you only had a quick look at the recent headlines about the richest 62 people on earth, you may have thought that these 62 people own half the world's wealth. One headline definitely gives such an impression: Super-rich: 62 people own as much as half the world (By aljazeera.com)

But, no. They don't own half the earth. They don't own 50% of the world's wealth. In fact, the percentage is very low. Make a guess before you continue reading.

Oxfam has a report on how it arrived at those numbers: methodology note. According to the details,

Total global wealth in 2015:              $250,145 billion
Wealth of the bottom 50% population:     $1,751 billion
Wealth of the richest 62 people:            $1,762 billion
Half the world's population is 3.6 billion people.

While most reports have focused on the super-rich 62, the main issue is really how poor the bottom half the world's population is.

The bottom half the world's population own 0.7% of the total global wealth. (1751/250145)
Yes, they don't even own 1% of the global wealth.

Half the world's population own, on average, $486 each. (1751/3.6)
Yes, their wealth is not enough for half an iphone 6S (with a list price at Amazon for $1199.99).

So, even if the wealth of the super-rich 62 are confiscated and distributed to the bottom half of the world's population, each of them will double his wealth to $975. But it is still not enough to own an iphone 6S at the list price. With the discounts, this will barely get 1.

Clearly, focusing on the super-rich 62 is not going to help the bottom half of the world's population much.

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