World's eight richest people have same wealth as poorest 50%


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/16/worlds-eight-richest-people.html


Reminder: if you have one penny, your net worth is equal to the combined wealth of the world's poorest 40%
#2

Message to poor people…


#3

Oh boy, these terrible people. How dare they?! Eyes roll I am willing to bet half my wealth that if there was a practicle way for these men to give half of their wealth with a guarantee that it would actually solve hunger then they would do it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, to solve that it would take quite a bit more than that wealth, and a lot of problem solving that money doesn’t buy. Let’s just say we took all their wealth and distributed evenly to all those people. How far would they get them? How much of that money would just be wasted or not be spendable to solve any real problem. Yeah, I know, I’m an inconsiderate asshole. But instead of spewing this old statistic why don’t we actually figure out how we could solve the problem with that money. Several of these men give major amounts of their money to specifically solve hunger, as well as disease, and they are very careful where that goes to ensure it actually does good


#4

It would be a good start for them to give away about 99.9% of their wealth, since they have no use for it.


#5

Twice as far along as they are now?


#6

Actually modern research has shown that just handing over cash to poor people is remarkably efficient. Most of them aren’t stupid or drug addicts, they are just poor, and they know a lot better than aid organizations what they need most.

It would be interesting if one of those billionaires simply decided to split their fortune, giving everyone in a poor country an equal share of the money. A full scale sociological experiment in increased equality.


#7

Vladimir Putin is the richest man on earth if you count illicit funds. Why on earth would you leave him out just because he’s a good thief and it’s impossible to trace? Why do you think he’s Trump’s role model? Trump intends on leaving office richer than Putin.


#8

Yep - check this out

http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2013/10/25/240590433/what-happens-when-you-just-give-money-to-poor-people


#9

Well their wealth is directly tied to the institutions that are both giving the poorest their terrible income so they can profit from it and the ones artificially limiting their access to basic needs so they don’t become to expensive. If they fully liquidated and gave their income to 50% of the world those people could live for a few months without complete desperation, and have no immediate change to their jobs. In fact, the only people negatively impacted are those 8 people and their direct beneficiaries which number in the dozens if that.


#10

The most important reason for pointing out the obscene level of wealth inequality in our modern society isn’t to shame the individuals at the top, but to point out how broken the system is if it can allow so much wealth and power to accumulate in the hands of so few.

Is it credible to claim we live in a democratic society if a tiny handful of people wield as much power and influence as everyone else put together?


#11

When you set up a system dependent on the beneficence of the ultra-wealthy you’re leaving a lot of room for inefficiency and error when it comes to solving those problems, as well as creating potential roadblocks to the solutions.

If you want to solve the big problems, first make sure every child has a quality public education – that eventually puts more trained eyes on the problem. And hey, while we’re at it make sure they’re fed, since food insecurity is mainly a distribution issue and because going to class with a full stomach helps with concentration.

If you want to solve the big problems, don’t roll the dice assuming that your UHNWI will use his money and power to fighting malaria instead of (just for example) plastering his name on shoddy buildings and products. Some people are terrible.

If you want to solve the big problems, don’t contribute to gross inequality and injustice to the point where demagogues can use it to distract people from issues like global warming.


#12

And good for the economy, because poor people, when they get money tend to spend it on things they need rather than to hoard it…


#13

Not sure if I’d trust the Sun, though.


#14

With such a small and discrete set of oligarchs, could folks develop a crowdsourcing app to track of their current location in real time? They are such important people, it is critical for the public to know their whereabouts at any given moment.


#15

Is the system broke, or you just have a few notable exceptions? It is like anything, those with extra resources will find it easier to grow those resources. A guy with 10 cows selling milk we make a lot less money and be able to grow much slower than the guy with 100 cows, as an example. At some point one is bound to get exceptions where even paying higher taxes their net growth is unusually high.

Perhaps a “high score” limit should be in place. Or a scaling tax rate, where the percentage on X amount of money is at Y percent, but if you make over X, it goes to Z percent - possibly with multiple tiers.

I know Gates and Greenspan both do a lot of charity projects. I dunno about the others.


#16

I have a problem with the wording of this issue. I’d much prefer:

World’s eight richest people have same wealth as 3.7 billion people
or
World’s eight richest people have same wealth as half of the rest of us

Since using the word ‘poor’ seems to allow people to turn off their humanity, I think it’s a mistake to use it. People need to understand that they themselves are getting the short end of the stick.

EDIT: The world’s population increased as I wrote this, so I had to change my number.


#17

One billion dollars is one million a week for 20 years. Certainly enough for anyone to STOP MAKING MONEY and just live. The only reason to keep making money is if you think you’re in a fucking contest you want to win. Hoarding money is no different from hoarding fingernails or newspapers. Every billionaire is a sociopath.


#18

I meant to reply to the topic, not m44.

How many hours in a day can a billionaire spend, per dollar, being all efficient and innovative? Infinitesimally small, essentially zero. So they hire armies of people with diminishingly small “skin in the game” to be all efficient and innovative. With little responsibility comes great corruption and great exploitation.

With all this largess to middle-functionaries, it’s no wonder there are neverending streams of refugees fleeing warlords in the developing world and no mystery why democracy in the developed world keeps getting pushed back. It also explains why there are so many uncreative idiots willing to defend these useless, uncreative oligarchs.


#19

Like a marginal tax rate?


#20

This is America, my friend, where an unlicensed plumber with a fake name can aspire to be a $250-thousand-aire.