Oxfam released its new report (pdf) on wealth and poverty. Their report is extensive, but here’s a synopsis of their synopsis;
“Billionaires also saw a huge increase in their wealth. This increase was enough to end extreme poverty seven times over. 82% of all of the growth in global wealth in the last year went to the top 1%, whereas the bottom 50% saw no increase at all.“
While this may not seem like news for some, it does provide a new perspective. The new data emphasize that 1/7th of the increase in wealth is sufficient to end poverty. In the US,
“The three richest people in the US own the same wealth as the bottom half of
the US population (roughly 160 million people)“
For a variety of reasons, the trend is unsustainable. Accumulation of wealth draws money out of the economy leaving less for the rest, including businesses. The trend is founded on indefinite growth, but we’ve already exceeded the resource production limits of the planet. Increasing automation that replaces workers with robots is not replacing worker’s income taxes with robot income taxes suggesting more difficult times for workers and lower revenues for governments. Without a plan to smoothly transition from an old economy to a new more equitable economy, the inevitable transition is more likely to be dramatic and drastic.