Economic imbalance

Before reading so many distributist polemics, I wouldn’t have thought twice about the statistics found in this article. But now they are very striking:

  • The richest 2% own half the world’s assets, while the poorer half own only 1% of the worlds’ assets.
  • Almost 90 percent of the world’s wealth is concentrated in North America, Europe, and high-income Asian and Pacific countries (remember Hilaire Belloc’s observation that while free trade will maximize the economic benefit within a particular region, it allows great imbalances within the region).
  • To be in the richest 1% you need $500,000 or more in assets, which I think is much less than financial planners recommend for a “comfortable” retirement.

3 thoughts on “Economic imbalance

  1. Here is an analysis, from a Biblical Worldview perspective, of the article from the Financial Times.

    The main point being “how do you define wealth?”

  2. My mother technically owns that much in assets- in the original family homestead which is a run down (but pretty) piece of property. It’s largish, and it’s wooded, which makes it prime acreage now. It’s been in the family since there was private property ownership in this state.
    Her income, however, is such that she has chosen to work part time for 8 dollars an hour to make ends meet.
    On paper, she fits in the top one or two percent. In her daily living, not so much.
    In her disposable income, not at all.
    And I’m not whining on her behalf. She’s comfortable and we do consider the family property a great blessing and we realize others dn’t have it. But many of those who don’t have this great blessing do have more leisure time and more disposable income.

  3. Paul,

    That is a good article. I’ve been meaning to devote a post to some of the points it raises, but there hasn’t been time, and probably won’t be until sometime next week.


    There’s something wrong with calculating an asset’s worth based on what someone might pay for it. Although farmland in Lancaster County has increased enormously in price over the past century, it hasn’t increased in value—as farmland, anyway.

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