We’ve long known that life isn’t fair and that the world’s wealth is unevenly distributed. But the latest factoid from Oxfam on global poverty and inequality is breathtaking.
In a new report, the nonprofit reports that just 85 people—the richest of the world’s rich—hold as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion. That’s half the world’s population.
In other words, the top 0.00000001 percent are worth as much as the bottom 50 percent combined. The top 1 percent, meanwhile, control nearly half the world’s wealth, or 65 times as much as the world’s less-fortunate half.
If there’s one kernel of hope—not mentioned in the Oxfam report, as far as I can tell—it’s that inequality between countries may be easing slightly (though it’s hard to tell for sure). On a country-by-country basis, though, the filthy rich have only been getting richer. Between 1980 and 2012, the wealthiest 1 percent increased their share of the spoils in 24 of the 26 countries Oxfam surveyed. This includes the United States, where the wealthiest 1 percent have captured 95 percent of all economic growth since the financial crisis of 2009, while the bottom 90 percent have gotten poorer.