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World's Millionaires and Billionaires Now Control Half the World's Personal Wealth, New Analysis Shows

World's Millionaires and Billionaires Now Control Half the World's Personal Wealth, New Analysis Shows

Jessica Corbett, staff writer

Millionaires and billionaires own nearly half of all the world's personal wealth, which reached $201.9 trillion last year, according to a new report from Boston Consulting Group.

"The share of global wealth held by millionaires increased to almost 50 percent in 2017, compared with just under 45 percent in 2012, driven mainly by higher-wealth individuals investing in higher-return assets," the report (pdf) states.

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I love the stock photo of what CD considers rich people. Everyone is white and shops at American Outfitter and Sears.

No Mexicans nor Muslims can not be rich. Just white Americans! LOL


You make it sound as if this “wealth” lives in another dimension.

The ice caps are melting for rich people as well.


300 years ago we tapped into 150 m years worth of fossilised sunshine

from that point on we created colossal debt to finance ‘‘infinite growth’’—effectively producing fuels by which we could give ourselves continued employment—you cannot have employment without energy input

unfortuntely that debt underpinned the wealth of the few…a$100 m yacht is the property of one man, but millions formed the indebted workforce to support it



Only one thing to do then. Stop supplying them with new recruits.

Wear a condom.

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We can’t expect politicians to help fight inequality by biting the oligarchy’s hand that feeds them.

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What’s the names, addresses, and phone numbers of these three people?

Anyone got any of this?

The “rich” can fend off rising water much easier than the poor.

Well, a billion isn’t worth what it used to be anymore.

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The super-rich consume a large percentage of resources here in the US, and worldwide, and the truth of the matter is that market based means of addressing environmental issues are entirely unrealistic, since most environmental impacts have no prices. Since externalities dominate the world we live in and since power is so unevenly distributed, the externalities and social costs are really a cost shifting exercise. The rich create the overwhelming majority of social and non-market costs, which they then pass off onto the environment and others not nearly as powerful, i.e., those unable to fight against these costs being pushed off onto them. Worldwide, the top 20% of the world’s population consume about 80% of all resources, and the top 10% generate about half of all carbon emissions. The very policies that led to the US and other countries developing are now barred by the WTO and deals like NAFTA. The US, and most every other developed country developed behind massive protectionism, the US in particular had the highest average industrial tariffs in the world from about the War of 1812 until WWII. Ha Joon Chang has written a lot about this. A large percentage of wealth in the US is inherited, some studies show about 80% of all wealth in the US, and inequality within and between countries has increased in recent decades. When deals are negotiated that impact capital, capital is the only interest with a seat at the table. With the recent TPP agreement, Obama gave full access to 500 “corporate advisers”, labor and environmental groups had next to no input, and our own reps had to threaten to sue just to look at it. When they were allowed to look at it, they were barred from discussing its contents with their constituents, and NAFTA was just as bad in that regard. The end result in regards to knowledge is something like TRIPS at the WTO, which is highly protectionist. The capitalist economy, in most industries worldwide, is increasingly concentrated, which means that a free market, which has a particular definition in economics, doesn’t exist, and hasn’t existed in the US since at least the late 19th century, and because capital accumulation has been an issue for decades now in capitalist countries, the finance, insurance and real estate markets (the FIRE sector) have been the main sources of capital accumulation. If you look at the economy reports to the president going back to about Reagan, you will see that about 10% of domestic profits accrued to the financial sector when Reagan was first elected. That was climbing to about 40% when the crash hit, and is climbing once again. Since finance’s product is debt, you would expect private debt to have exploded in recent decades. Well, it has, private debt has exploded, it is much larger than public debt and grew at a much quicker rate than public debt leading into the crash. Worldwide, poor countries have been trapped under mountains of debt, they have paid the principal on the debt they long ago took on and their debt has continued to climb. Eric Toussaint has written amazing books on this.

There is a huge gap between what people want on policy and what the government actually does, and policy closely tracks what the rich want. Countless studies now show this. Here in the US, wages have stagnated in real terms, adjusted for inflation, going back to about Reagan, while the costs of everything from healthcare, education and housing have continued to exponentially grow. There is a massive infrastructure gap, and our infrastructure has a grade of D-. And keep in mind, since Reagan, we have lowered taxes on the rich and corporations, lowered estate taxes, lowered taxes on dividends and capital gains, mass privatizations, mass deregulations, unions are weaker, and look at the shape of the country. Capitalism, whatever it was a century ago, is a failure of a system, and it is THE key driver in regards to environmental degradation. Capitalism must continuously expand and most impacts are outside of the pricing mechanism, which means that things that create negative externalities are over-produced, and things that provide positive externalities are under-produced. Whatever system emerges to deal with all of these issues, it won’t be capitalism, the environmental crisis alone insures this.


Please don’t respond to discover. He will utterly ruin this thread and will make any thoughtful discussion impossible.


I am truly impressed with your succinct analysis. It is worse than any on this thread or article posit. Thomas Piketty in his book Capitalism in the 21st Century presents his analysis of the world economy over the last 200 years. On average the world economy grew at a 2% rate but return on investment was 5%. Investment at 5% doubles every 14 yrs. No family doubles every 14 years so the wealth individuals in those wealthy families has accumulated exponentially. Yet the list of billionaires from Forbes does not have a Morgan, Stanley, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Rothschild, or a member of the UK or Dutch royalty. The last Rockefeller was David who just died. His wealth went from $5billion to $3billion in the 3 years before his death. How can he have lost $2billion in this market? He didn’t. He hid so that Forbes couldn’t find it.
A similar comment on OpEd News elicited a response from a person who used to work for people on Forbes list. He observed meetings with people that were not on the list and his employers showed deference through body language. He thinks the Forbes list is to attract attention away from the true puppet masters to keep the pitchforks from their gates. Nothing frightenes the 1% of the 1% of the 1% more than the possibility that the 99% will awaken and understand and use their power.
The goal is not more money. They can create that with a few keystrokes from their mercenaries in the big banks and govt. True wealth lies in land and resources which cannot be created on a computer, and a few well trained minions. If people and govts. are impoverished and in debt then that land and resources become for sale. The true pathological goal is control. They want to turn the 99% into serfs and reside in isolated, self contained havens mostly in the South. 99% of the nuclear reactors and 100% of the weapons are in the North. The air and water masses don’t mix much so the safest havens are in the South. The Bush family, not the sharpest tacks, recently purchased 100,000 hectares over the Guarani Aquifer, the largest fresh water reservoir in the world located in South America. That much land would reside inside a circle 24 miles across.

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And what mechanism do we have to right the gross imbalance this reveals? Don’t say Democracy. Democracy voted for it, and continues to vote for it, perhaps because the true issues are always masked in elections so that people are never given the full picture. Or perhaps because people tend to look for “leaders” and vote for the big beasts who profit from all this. Meanwhile, we have forgotten that society (yes, there is such a thing) used to try to hold competing powers in balance. Separation of powers is about this, maintaining rules which protect the vulnerable as the big beasts roar and joust, steal and pillage. All those protections are gone - ripped away because they actually work: they control rapacity and keep things within reasonable limits. Aspiration and entrepreneurship may crave a lawless world ruled by the market, but it only serves them, not the majority. How to get back control? Search me. First you have to know that you have lost it: that the disconnected individual who thinks his or her wallet is the route to untrammelled freedom and self fulfilment (even if their own wallet is never full enough) needs a better perspective on what makes for a rewarding and worthwhile life.

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That’s just silly.

A massive storm surge does not pay attention to wealth. Rising seas in Miami are destroying the homes of both poor and rich. Droughts do not care if you own a yacht. The fires and mudslides destroyed Montecito, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the US.

Here’s a little thought experiment.

The next time you are in traffic, look around. You will see people in low income Chevies and Toyotas stuck in the same traffic jam as the person who paid $200,000 for their Mercedes.

So who is more the fool?

Being rich does not solve all problems.

You are using oil and electricity to comment on this page.

Piss off Joan. You’re a bully.

It’s like a cult. Commondreams offers many great articles on a variety of subjects, but they never bring up overpopulation. Instead they pepper the page with good spin about the Pope.

So my guess is the site is run by liberal Catholics. Don’t blame the pope, blame evil corporations!!!

The idea that all problems stem from rich corporations is simplistic and ironic, since you’re using the tools of corporations to read this comment.

Corporations do bad things. But there is more to the story. Population, habitat overshoot and the limits to growth include personal choices as well as corporate and government choices.

Too late. He’s here.

Right. The fallacy of this article depends on where you focus. I posted many videos showing that cities around the world all look the same now. You can’t tell Sao Paulo from Tokyo. The “wealth” got spread around the world.

Further, how is “wealth” being defined? It doesn’t say. Is it the digits in your bank account, or actual resources that you can use to survive?

If the latter, then the world is very poor indeed because those resources are quickly running out. Given the latter definition, then the entire population of the planet is in a downward spiral into poverty.

And we can see that easily by the millions of refugees which grows by the tens of thousands daily.

Having children in wedlock is not going to help this problem.

Uh no. It’s really very simple. We live on a planet. The population of the planet increases at three ADDITIONAL people per SECOND.

There are eight billion people currently.

There is no way to sustain that growth no matter what resources you use nor how you get them to market, especially given climate change and habitat collapse.

If you can show the plan to change the market to sustain that growth, feel free to present it.

Here is the clock ticking away while we wait…