Wealth Report

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wealth_reportResearchers with the Swiss bank Credit Suisse have just published their latest annual global wealth report, Global Wealth Report 2015. The United States, the report informs us, currently has more than twice as many millionaires as the next four richest nations — the UK, Japan, France, and Germany — combined. It also notes that the trend in growing inequality and the accumulation of wealth by a tiny elite continues unabated.

There is no mention in the report of exploitation, imperialism or war. But it does contain a fairly stark depiction of socio-economic insanity.

“While the  bottom half of adults collectively own less than 1% of total wealth, the richest decile holds 87.7% of  assets, and the top percentile alone accounts for half of total household wealth.”

The Report makes some effort to explain this state of affairs. For example, it notes with interest that

“North America and Europe also contribute many members  to the bottom wealth decile” but it doesn’t put this down to  the increasing exploitation of workers in core imperialist states as wealth is siphoned . into the private and largely  hidden coffers of a tiny elite.

Instead, for the economists of Credit Suisse the growing number of people in the west living at third-world levels of poverty “reflects the ease with which individuals – especially  younger individuals – can acquire debt in these regions”.

So that explains it.

While stating that  “it is difficult to identify the drivers of these trends” in growing inequality, the author hazards a guess that “the value of financial assets – especially  company securities – is likely to be an important  factor because wealthier individuals hold a disproportionate share of their assets in financial form.”

While growing financial wealth is an important issue, it is not alone sufficient to explain a world in which

” the lower half of the global population collectively own  less than 1% of global wealth … and the top 1%  account for half of all assets in the world”. 

Obviously, if the Report is correct, the poor, starving and ruthlessly exploited of the world need to consider expanding their portfolios into paper assets.

Although the Credit Suisse report is full of facts and figures, it is careful to explain nothing.

Justin O’Hagan is on the Ard Comhairle of the Workers’ Party

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