By many economic indicators, the world is seeing an unprecedented boom right now. While this may seem like great news in generalized terms, there are some foreboding anomalies developing which foreshadow very difficult times ahead for the vast majority of the world’s people.
People love a great success story, though, and the numbers on the most recent numbers on global wealth, recently published by UBS, show just how good the world’s billionaires are doing right now. Their wealth is increasing at astronomical rates.
Billionaires increased their combined global wealth by almost a fifth last year to a record $6tn (£4.5tn) – more than twice the GDP of the UK. There are now 1,542 dollar billionaires across the world, after 145 multi-millionaires saw their wealth tick over into nine-zero fortunes last year, according to the UBS / PwC Billionaires report. [Source]
The UBS Billionaire’s Report 2017 is an indication that we are entering a new and very unique time in history. Not since the Gilded Age of the early 1900s have we seen such a dramatic rise in the wealth of a small handful of people. This was during the rise of the industrial era, where a small handful of individuals and families were able to reshape entire cultures to work in their favor, ultimately ending in serious backlash from the general public.
Josef Stadler, lead author of the UBS report comments on the widening gap between the super rich and everyone else.
We are now two years into the peak of the second Gilded Age… We’re at an inflection point… Wealth concentration is as high as in 1905, this is something billionaires are concerned about. The problem is the power of interest on interest – that makes big money bigger and, the question is to what extent is that sustainable and at what point will society intervene and strike back?