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No surprise, there is income and wealth inequality. Also no surprise, little is changing it. Wages in the US are up. Poverty rate is down. But extreme wealth is becoming so concentrated that one measure (the Gini index) is up 1.2% in a year. Income is distributed such that the folks with the top 10% incomes in the US make 45.5% of the nation’s income. As for wealth, the richest 10% of households own 70.7% of the wealth, an even greater disparity. The richest 1% own 34.9%. As things improve for most, the rich get proportionally more. In 1965, US CEOs earned (or at least were compensated regardless of their work) about 20x as much as a typical employee. In 2018 that ratio was 278.

“Globally, inequality is so extreme that the world’s 10 richest men possess more wealth than the 3.1 billion poorest people, Oxfam has calculated.” – Resilience

Rather than describe individual influences, causes, and effects it may be simpler to realize that increasing the accumulation of wealth is unsustainable in a real world economy. When 10 people hold that much wealth, the world’s economies must function on what remains; that makes it more difficult to manage economies, businesses, governments, and personal finances. When it becomes 9, 8, 7, …? When is unsustainable no longer academic?

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