The richest 3 hundred people in the world are as wealthy as the bottom 3 billion

April 11, 2013 by
Filed under: Social Brain 

I just watched a Flabbergastingly good four minute video, written, directed and narrated by LSE’s Jason Hickel and wanted to share my reaction immediately.

Global wealth inequality matters for all sorts of reasons- economic, social, environmental and political, so it worth taking the scale of this issue fully on board. The video is full of great graphs, striking statistics and vivid visuals. From reliable UN sources, statistics like the following are beautifully illustrated:

  • The richest 2% have more wealth than half of the rest of the world.
  • The world’s total wealth is about 223 trillion US dollars.
  • The richest 1% have 43% of world’s wealth.
  • The bottom 80% have just 6% of world’s wealth.
  • The richest 300 people on earth have the same wealth as the poorest 3 billion (3,000,000,000).
  • Enjoy the video!

the richest 300 people on earth have the same wealth as the poorest 3 billion (3,000,000,000).



  • Jayarava Attwood

    And what can we do about this? NeoLiberalism seems to be entrenched and economics seems impervious to heterodox views. What has played out over the last 40 years is spelled out in the Lewis Powell Memo of 1971 almost to the letter – even with Labour governments!. Not only is there economic inequality, but we now seem to have entrenched democratic inequality. Industry lobby groups seem to dictate policy; parliamentarians pass laws that are good for their own business interests, the rich get richer and increasingly insulate their wealth from contributing to the common good. How does one change such a system?

    • Jonathanrowson

      Thanks for the comment Jayarava (Buddhist connection?) The quick answer is “I don’t know” but it is something I think about; in this respect thanks for reference to ‘democratic inequality’ – I haven’t come across that particular expression before.

      • Jayarava Attwood

        Buddhist, yes – for my sins. “Democratic inequality” occurred to me as I wrote. I can get 15 mins with my local MP which will change nothing (I know because I’ve tried it). I can’t get an hour of undivided attention of the Chancellor like a finance sector lobbyist. Indeed my MP wrote to the Chancellor asking about the policy on private sector debt and I never heard anything more.

        So I get my vote, but the government still don’t take my opinion into account when making policy, whereas wealthy people are taken into account. So policy favours wealthy people – surprise surprise! And of course the cabinet all have extensive business interests.

        50 million voters but about 50 really influential people (not including my MP). The demos don’t really matter any more.

        Proportional representation would be a start.

    • Simon Gramstrup

      Your short analysis is spot on. As long as there have been humans, someone has asked the same question as you do. “What can we do?”

      I would like to challenge that question. We pretty much know what’s wrong with the system, and we pretty much know what’s wrong with us and why we have trouble changing.

      Please consider supporting the Zeitgeist Movement. We are an absolutely insane group of people with ideas that 99.9?% would shake their head at, but it does’nt matter. We are dedicated to using logic and the scientific method to arrive at the best solutions for everyone and see the world in a ‘systemic’ way. That means that our goals/ideas will change according to the latest research and not what we “feel” is a good idea or what ideas we grew up with.

      The best part: You don’t even have to agree with the ideas proposed. By being a member you just acknowledge that something is wrong, and that we should use the latest and best known methods/knowledge to arrive at the most optimal system for everyone – whatever that will be.

      Oh, another ‘feel-good’ group? No, there really is no-one like us, and there have never been before.

      Can we make a dent? Yes, there is a world of difference from “We should all hug each other” to presenting logical science based evidence. We know that we’re not quite there yet, and we probably have to adjust our ideas forever, but we evolve and adapt to new knowledge as fast as we can and only get better and better.

      As far as I know, we are the fastest growing global movement, and actually the only game in town. Numbers count.

      Btw. If you didnt like that I pushed this idea on you, then you have discovered just one of the well known cognitive ‘features’ of our brains that have frustrated activists through all times.

  • Benjamin D

    essential watching. Shared with as many people as possible.