Monday, January 20, 2014

OxFam Inequality Report


There are two claims in the summary that seem clearly inconsistent...but if either one is anywhere near the truth, it's pretty damning:

"Almost half of the world's wealth is now owned by just 1% of the population."
"The bottom half of the world's population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world."

Not sure what's going on there, but either is bad.

(h/t S. rex)


Anonymous computer phil said...

They aren't necessarily inconsistent. If the bottom half of the population (roughly 3.5bn people) own somewhat less than 50% of the wealth, but roughly what the top 0.00000000082% own, then there you go. Of course the 50% of wealth split between the top 1% and the bottom 99% seems to be a little like hyperbole. Of course they do say "Almost half." So maybe 30% is almost half, or 10% of all the wealth.

Of course in typical journalistic fashion they use two sets of numbers in related claims but fail to provide some sort of scale factor. For example, how much wealth do the top 85 people own, as a percentage of total wealth?

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I paused when I saw those two claims too, but after a little thought I don't think they are inconsistent. If the top percentile owns half the world's wealth, the remaining half is divided up among the other 99%. So the bottom half has much, much less than half the wealth. The 85 wealthiest can own less than half the wealth (as a subset of the 1%) but still as much as the poorest half of the population.

6:35 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...


Yeah, no inconsistency. Just radically misinterpreted what was being said.

10:43 PM  

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