[OPE-L] UN study of global household assets

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Thu Dec 07 2006 - 12:44:28 EST


World's richest 1% own 40% of all wealth, UN report discovers

James Randerson, science correspondent
Wednesday December 6, 2006
The Guardian

The richest 1% of adults in the world own 40% of the planet's wealth,
according to the largest study yet of wealth distribution. The report also
finds that those in financial services and the internet sectors predominate
among the super rich. Europe, the US and some Asia Pacific nations account
for most of the extremely wealthy. More than a third live in the US. Japan
accounts for 27% of the total, the UK for 6% and France for 5%.

The UK is also third in terms of per capita wealth. UK residents are found
to have on average $127,000 (64,000) each in assets, with Japanese and
American citizens having, respectively, $181,000 and $144,000. All data
relate to the year 2000. The global study - from the World Institute for
Development Economics Research of the United Nations - is the first to chart
wealth distribution in every country as opposed to just income, for which
more comprehensive date is available. It included all the most significant
components of household wealth, including financial assets and debts, land,
buildings and other tangible property. Together these total $125 trillion
globally.

Anthony Shorrocks, director of the research institute at the United Nations
University, in New York, led the study. He affirmed that the existence of a
nest egg provided an insurance policy that helped people cope with
unforeseen events such as ill health or a lost job. Capital allowed people
to drag themselves out of poverty, he added. "In some ways, wealth is more
important to people in poorer countries than in richer countries." It was
more difficult in developing countries to set up a business because it was
harder to borrow start-up funds, he said. His team used detailed data from
38 countries, but had to rely on incomplete information from the rest. The
report found the richest 10% of adults accounted for 85% of the world total
of global assets. Half the world's adult population, however, owned barely
1% of global wealth. Near the bottom of the list were India, with per capita
wealth of $1,100, and Indonesia with assets per head of $1,400.

Complete story: http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,1965149,00.html
Press release:
http://www.wider.unu.edu/research/2006-2007/2006-2007-1/wider-wdhw-launch-5-12-2006/wider-wdhw-press-release-5-12-2006.pdf
The report:
http://www.wider.unu.edu/research/2006-2007/2006-2007-1/wider-wdhw-launch-5-12-2006/wider-wdhw-report-5-12-2006.pdf

(according to BBC radio I heard, there's a good 10,000 Indonesians in Atjeh
still living in tents and so on. Why? Because the tsunami destroyed any
evidence they had, which could prove they actually had title to the property
they were previously living on... so much for the power of property in
regulating our lives!).

Jurriaan


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