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The 85 Richest Individuals in the World

The 85 Richest Individuals in the World

By Dennis Loo (1/20/14)

NBC is reporting today, based on an Oxfam report released on Monday entitled "Working for the Few," that the richest 85 individuals in the world now have more wealth than the bottom half of the world, 3.5 billion. This is a further shift into an even tinier number of hands of what was as of a few years ago - the richest 497 individuals held more than the bottom half of the world's population put together.

According to the report, 210 people have become billionaires in the past year, joining a select group of 1,426 individuals with a combined net worth of $5.4 trillion.

It added that the wealth of the richest one percent of people in the world now amounts to $110 trillion, or 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world's population.

The story goes on to state further:

"A survey in six countries (Spain, Brazil, India, South Africa, the UK and the U.S.) showed that a majority of people believe that laws are skewed in favor of the rich," the report said.

Oxfam singled out India as an example, where the number of billionaires increased from less than 6 to 61 in the past decade, concentrating approximately $250 billion among a few dozen people in a country of 1.2 billion.

"What is striking is the share of the country's wealth held by this elite minority, which has skyrocketed from 1.8 percent in 2003 to 26 percent in 2008," the report said.

Oxfam said that India's billionaires acquired their wealth in 'rent thick' sectors – industries where profits are dependent on access to scarce resources – "made available exclusively through government permissions and therefore susceptible to corruption by powerful actors, as opposed to creation of wealth."

If this were a report on an alien world, commentators from Earth would probably be provoked into asking how the aliens on that planet are tolerating such an insanely unjust and unfair distribution of wealth and power.

But it's not an alien planet that shows this lopsidedness. It's our world.

How long can this insanity continue? In India the contrast between the wealthy and the abject poverty is stark and criminal. How those who revel in their ill-gotten wealth can do so in the face of so many others around them on the very edge of survival or worse shows the capacity for self-deception and the utter bankruptcy of neoliberal philosophy that says it's all about money and that no one owes any social obligations to others.

Not only is this distortion of the distribution of wealth and power grotesque in terms of the impact that it has on the life chances of half of the planet and more - their needless suffering and unnecessary deaths - but it is also a sign of the nature of capitalism and imperialism, systems that survive only through savage exploitation, exploitation that is literally destroying the Earth as a viable planet.


0 # mitchell denerson 2014-06-09 01:04
Referring to your quote "exploitation that is literally destroying the earth" I don't think the elites really care that they are destroying the Earth because they are the ones making the money. Sure some probably do, but those in the logging business or those who own factories, they don't care, they just want money. The world revolves too much around capital, and the rich are in control in every country. Again this brings up the talk about revolution, which we need. Lot's of awareness is being brought up around the world, but not as much action, and i think action will be taken once it is too late.
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Elaine Brower of World Can't Wait speaking at the NYC Stop the War on Iran rally 2/4/12