In Feature Articles, Multipolarity

New Cold, July 4, 2017

The world’s richest people are getting richer at the expense of the poor. The following two images are among the many more images contained in Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2016. The report is published annually since 2008. Further below is the introduction to the 2016 report, published in November 2016. The 2016 report is 64 pages long.

The annual reports also provide key indicators of per capita wealth by country. This happens to be one of the measures of which countries are in the select group of imperialist countries, that is, countries which derive high amounts of their wealth by controlling or exploiting the labour power and natural resources of subordinate countries and continents. Coincidentally, the first image here below shows graphically, in red, which countries of the world belong to the select club of imperialist countries.

World wealth levels by country, 2016 (image from Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2016)

The world’s most wealthy individuals in 2016, by country (image from Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2016)







Introduction to Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2016:

Despite their significance for economic activity, precise and comprehensive insights into the levels and the global distribution of wealth remain scarce. The Global Wealth Report, issued annually by the Credit Suisse Research Institute, is one of the key sources of intelligence in relation to global wealth development. It delivers extensive estimates of global household wealth levels, covering all regions and population segments.

Our seventh edition of the Global Wealth Report confirms a course of the weak global wealth growth. In the course the past 12 months, global wealth has risen by USD 3.5 trillion to USD 256 trillion, which represents an increase of 1.4%. However, wealth creation has merely kept pace with population growth. As a result, in 2016, wealth per adult was unchanged for the first time since 2008, at approximately USD 52,800. Among the major economies, the USA and Japan were able to generate substantial additional wealth, while the United Kingdom recorded a significant decline as a result of currency depreciation.

Since 2008, we have reported on gains in household wealth being driven by an increase in financial assets. Interestingly, we are observing a shift in 2016, as the share of non-financial assets increased for the first time. In total, USD 4.9 trillion were added to real assets, compared to a USD 330 billion rise in financial assets. We have further established that wealth inequality, measured by the share of the wealthiest 1% and wealthiest 10% of adults, as compared to the rest of the world’s adult population, continues to rise. While the bottom half collectively own less than 1% of total wealth, the wealthiest top 10% own 89% of all global assets.

Since the beginning of the century, emerging economies have significantly influenced the global allocation of wealth. In 2000, emerging economies accounted for a mere 12% of global wealth, but have contributed nearly 25% towards global growth since. Today, emerging nations are home to 18% of the world’s ultra-high net worth population. China alone accounts for 9% of the top decile of global wealth holders, which is well above France, Germany , Italy, and the United Kingdom.

Besides the recurring themes, our 2016 edition of the Global Wealth Report sheds light on the most significant trends at the bottom of the global wealth pyramid. Currently, an estimated 9% of adults globally are net debtors, which is without a doubt a worrying development. In our report, we provide insights into the regional composition of this segment, explore structural factors associated with poverty, and estimate the assets owned by the lower wealth segments.

We trust that you will find our report insightful.

Urs Rohner
Chairman of the Board of Directors,
Credit Suisse Group AG



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