Extreme Economics, Dude!

In just the last two years, we have added an astonishing 215 new names to the ranks of the world’s billionaires. In 2003 we found 476 billionaires. Today it’s a record 691. Their aggregate net worth has grown from $1.4 trillion to $2.2 trillion. The average net worth has also jumped, from $2.9 billion to $3.2 billion. – Forbes.com

215 new billionaires in the last 2 years, making just about 700 in the world. Is that a sign of our world getting richer? Depending on who we go to for information, we can get two opposite viewpoints.

The capitalist/economist side will tell us that extreme wealth is a good thing because it creates jobs and means the world has created new wealth, and they will have plenty of graphs and specialized words and mathematical data to back up their point of view.

The socialist/liberal side will tell us that extreme wealth is a bad thing because it means that wealth and power has been shifted from the hands of the many to the hands of the few, leaving a tiny elite who profit while all others suffer.

I cannot say for sure what is true and what isn’t. The world economy is a complex beast. 215 new billionaires probably means a combination of new wealth and old-fashioned exploitation.

One thing I know is that we have about 1/6 of our world’s population living in extreme poverty – around 2 Billion humans – struggling to survive day to day with no long term security. To me, the math proving extreme wealth and extreme poverty are intertwined seems very simple:

A few humans with a billion times more than enough equals a few billion humans without enough.

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