Inequality Video Fact Sheet

The figure we use for total global household wealth, $223 trillion, comes from the 2012 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report.

The figures we use for how the world’s wealth is divided by population cohort also come from the 2012 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, as discussed here.

The video says that the richest 300 people on earth have more wealth than the poorest 3 billion.  We chose those numbers because it makes for a clear and memorable comparison, but in truth the situation is even worse: the richest 200 people have about $2.7 trillion, which is more than the poorest 3.5 billion people, who have only $2.2 trillion combined.

The claim that inequality between poor countries and rich countries has been increasing and now stands at about 1:80 comes from the United Nations Development Program’s 1999 Human Development Report.

The amount of aid that rich countries give to developing countries each year, about $130 billion, comes from the OECD Aid Statistics report.

The claim that corporations steal more than $900 billion from developing countries each year through tax avoidance comes from a 2012 report from Global Financial Integrity.

The claim that developing countries pay $600 billion each year in debt service comes from the World Bank’s International Debt Statistics databank.

The claim that developing countries lose about $500 billion each year as a consequence of trade rules imposed by rich countries (through the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank) comes from Robert Pollin’s 2003 book Contours of Descent.

Another important fact that the video doesn’t include has to do with land grabs. Fred Pearce’s new book, The Land Grabbers, shows that that land exceeding the size of Western Europe has been grabbed from developing countries by rich-country corporations in the past decade alone. If we could quantify the value of that land we could have added a huge amount to the $2 trillion stack of cash that the video depicts flowing from poor to rich.

It’s also worth drawing attention to a recent Oxfam report that shows that “The richest 1% has increased its income by 60% in the last 20 years, with the financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process.”