2000 Pharaohs, 7 Billion Slaves
[Above cartoon is by Polyp]. Further to the previous post on global inequality, a few facts from Forbes Magazine’s latest figures for 2013 on global billionaires (the list does not include royalty or political ruling families):
Number of global billionaires 2013: 1,426 (210 more than 2012)
Net aggregate worth : $5.4 trillion (2012: $4.6 trillion; 5.4 trillion is 5.4 thousand billion or $ 5,400,000,000,000)
Number of women billionaires : 138 (34 more than 2012)
US billionaires : 442
Chinese billionaires : 122 (plus Hong Kong 39; ten years ago China had none)
Russian billionaires : 110
German billionaires : 58
Indian billionaires : 55
Brazilian billionaires : 46
Turkish billionaires : 43
UK billionaires : 38
Canadian billionaires : 29
Indonesian billionaires : 25
Japanese billionaires : 22
Australian billionaires : 22
Australian billionaires (in order): Rinehart, Glasenberg, Packer, Forrest, Lowy, Triguboff, Gandel, Neilson, Ramsay, Hains, Stokes, Perron, Fox, Hintze, Buckeridge, Lew, Walker, Ainsworth, Ingham, Harvey, Bingweh, Van Lieshout.
The global top ten billionaires have a combined (official) wealth of $451.5 billion. They are (in order): Carlos Slim Helu (Mex, $73 b), Bill Gates (US, $67 b), Amancio Ortega (Sp, $57 b), Warren Buffett (US, $53.5 b), Larry Ellison (US, $43 b), Charles & David Koch (US, $34 b each), Li Ka-shing (HK, $ 31 b), Liliane Bettencourt (Fr, $30 b), Bernard Arnault (Fr, $29 b).
Of course these are only the official wealth figures. According to a former chief economist at the global management consulting company McKinsey (in The Guardian Weekly 12-18/4/2013, p.1), these ruling class representatives and their fellows in government have between 21 and 32 trillion dollars stashed away in tax havens out of reach of national tax systems. That’s $32,000,000,000,000. More than enough to wipe out global poverty, fund a guaranteed minimum income for all, the transition to renewable energy systems…
What these people (perhaps 0.000004 % of the global population) decide to do or not do with their capital decides the shape of our lives and futures. This is where the real power lies, not with the politicians we are constantly distracted by. Their investment criteria are not our well-being or that of the planet or of future generations. Nor the reduction of suffering, poverty, disempowerment. They have only two criteria: profit and power.
Let’s leave the last word to the wonderful Nina Simone:
~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on April 23, 2013.