We Are All Part of This Picture

There are about 7 billion people in the world and there is roughly US$223 trillion.

The richest 2% of people own more than half of this money.  Most (if not all) of us in the wealthy world sit somewhere near the top, where another 40% of the world’s money is owned by around 20% of people.

That leaves 6% of the world’s money for the remaining 80% of people.  In the map below, areas marked red own 94% of the world’s money.

Map of world wealth

Two hundred years ago, the richest countries were 3 x richer than the poorest countries.  By the end of colonialism in the 1960s they were 35 x richer and today they are 80 x richer.

Rich countries try to compensate for this by giving aid to poor countries (often amidst loud protests from some citizens).  About US$130 billion per year in aid is given from the wealthiest countries, to poorer countries.  However, large corporations take more than US$900 billion out of poor countries, each year, through a form of tax avoidance called trade mis-pricing.  Additionally, every year poor countries pay US$600 billion back to rich countries in debt repayments for loans that have already been paid off many times over (due to interest added to loan amounts).  Rich countries also impose trade rules on poor countries in order to access their resources and cheap labor.  Economists at the University of Massachusetts calculate this costs poor countries around US$500 billion annually.

So while we “give” US$130 billion to the world’s poorest each year, we cost them over US$2 trillion per year.

Map of world wealth movement

It pays to understand this imbalance of economies when people in rich countries – whose governments are at the same time responsible for dropping bombs, selling weaponry and various other destabilisation methods at great expense to their own people – claim that “we don’t have enough to help our own, we shouldn’t help others“.  Clearly this is not a true reflection of the facts.

This information came from Change The Rules.