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Photo Credit: Paul Stein/Flickr

The Wealthiest 1 Percent Will Have Almost 70 Percent of the World’s Money by 2030

Once a common appliance retailer, Sears and its sister supermarket, Kmart, shuttered a number of locations and declared bankruptcy this year. After going more than $5 billion in debt, Sears Holdings has decided to throw in the towel — but not before making sure to stick it to their employees.

While the former employees of these closed stores are being laid off en masse ahead of the holiday season, those who made the calls leading to the current bankruptcy are giving themselves a hefty Christmas bonus, splitting $25 million among them. Their reasoning? This “talent” would leave if not given enough incentive to stick around.

This is one of many modern examples of capitalist actions that have led not only the United States but also the rest of the world onto a very precarious path.

Today, there are few people unaware of the significant wealth inequality around the globe. Yet, the severity of this rift between the have and have-nots is only recently starting to come into focus. A recent analysis by a UK government body is a sobering call to action when it comes to the wealth gap.

According to the House of Commons report, trends show that the world’s richest people have been experiencing a wealth growth of 6 percent every year since 2008; by comparison, the rest of the world has, on average, experienced only a 3 percent gain annually.

If these economic trends established following the 2008 financial crisis persist, the wealthiest 1 percent will hold nearly two-thirds of the world’s total wealth by 2030 — a mere 12 years from now. Even if these trends were to even out to pre-2008 levels, per the report, the top 1 percent would still hold over 50 percent of global wealth.

An Oxfam International study published earlier this year examines what could be accomplished if the world’s richest individuals used their wealth to help others. At the time, it was found that there are now 2,043 billionaires in the world. With their cumulative wealth, the study suggests, global extreme poverty could be completely wiped out seven times over.

Contrary to the popular theory of “trickle-down economics,” the world’s wealthiest people are largely declining to reinvest their capital, instead either buying up valuable assets or simply hoarding their money. The idea that wealth begets wealth is demonstrably untrue, and the globe is rapidly reaching a tipping point — if it hasn’t already.

Great wealth disparity inevitably leads to social and political backlash. In recent history, there have and still are highly visible examples of this — just look to the global Occupy movements earlier this decade, the so-called Arab Spring and, currently, the “yellow vest” protests in France and Belgium.

Regardless of one’s personal economic philosophy, it is difficult to deny the far-reaching negative impact that comes with irrationally excessive wealth accumulation. As it stands in many of the world’s wealthiest nations, including the United States, such individuals are permitted to enjoy unchecked greed.

Originally published at Care2.com on Dec. 31, 2018.

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