Chart looks at the state of the world in units of a trillion dollars

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We’re all going to look at this chart, note that a relatively small box is “cost of keeping the world from ending” and sigh in the knowledge that we won’t pay that price, and that the world will end, and then go back to our days.


I was enjoying that chart until I reached the big red 1% box at the bottom. Now I’m just angry. What’s wrong with people?

With a current world population of about 7.5 billion people, the global 1% are 75 million people. According to that chart, their average wealth is 1.7 million dollars, so the 1% wealth bracket starts at some point below that. This article says that a net worth of $770,000 will put you in the global 1% by wealth, and an salary of $32,400 in the global 1% by income. Not that much for people in rich countries.

That chart mixes annual figures with total figures without being explicit about it. They could have use a different color to separate the two categories.


I have further reservations about the chart. For example, the wealth of the 1% is about twice the world GPD. I think it means that this “wealth” is more than anything that can be bought, that it is a speculation bubble without any real countervalue. It is money which does not really exist (which does not mean it does not have effect, especially politically).

It is as if I wrote on a piece of paper I own 100 trillions $. As long as people believe it, I own the world. I think this is just what happened: with complex financial derivative instruments indexed on some growth factors like real estate, some people created trillions of artificial monetary units. But there is no physical counterpart.

Counting money is not easy for large sums.

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