World Inequality Report 2022
Exposes the Ugly Face of Capitalist System

May 31, 2022 0 By Yatharth


Economy | Statistics

The World Inequality Lab[1], a globally reputed research laboratory, whose mission is to study of inequality worldwide has come out with its latest research report, namely World Inequality Report 2022[2] (hereafter the Report) which is undoubtedly of colossal natural with historical significance. The Report is very comprehensive and the result of hard work of hundreds of researchers and economists across the globe, taking more than four years to collect the robust data and to analyze and synthesize it. The Report has been prepared and written by the ream of renowned economists of international repute of social democratic persuasion including Lucas Chancel (Lead author), Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, & Gabriel Zucman.  The scientific methodology has been applied in this report. The main objective of the World Inequality Report 2022 is to present the latest and most complete data available on inequality to inform democratic debate worldwide. It also updates 2018 World Inequality Report[3], adding new data with gender, environment, and tax justice dimensions. 

The Reports underlines the colonial loot and capitalist plunder by the colonial and imperialist powers for glaring economic inequality within the country and between the countries.  Social democratic measures through progressive taxation on wealthy class have been suggested to address the economic inequality which is very unlikely to be adopted by the bourgeoise ruling class. Nonetheless, there is silver lining shown in the historical achievements of socialist USSR (during Lenin and Stalin) and Socialist China (during Mao) which abolished inequality to substantial extent.  Importance of Marxist economics, socialist model, labour movement and communist revolution have been referred in the Report among other.  Message of Report is very clear and emphatic that only socialist model is capable of addressing the glairing inequality within the country and between the countries.

Notwithstanding of the fact that Indian media including so called left-liberal has given scant attention on such an exhaustive and historical study/ Report, it has received critical acclamation worldwide not only among academic circle but also among the ruling class of all hues, bourgeoise civil society and most notably revolutionary communist organizations and individuals as well.

Now, let us discuss and examine the various aspects of the Report which runs into 236 pages, divided into ten chapters and contains hundreds of charts and tables on economic inequality in terms of income and wealth within the country and between the countries.

Chapter 1 of the Report gives insights onglobal economic inequality, its range and level. It discusses and analyses various aspects of global income and wealth inequality between individuals, the countries and regions. It observed that differences in inequality are not well explained by geographicor average income differences. It also discusses the limited impact of redistribution on global inequality and the extreme concentration of capital.

Level of Global Inequality

The Report gives glaring picture of super richness through super exploitation for the billionaires and millionaires and the misery, disease, hunger and death for majority of the population in general and working class in particular. As per the Report, in 2021, global income[4] amounts to €86 trillion ($122 trillion), while global net wealth[5] amounts to six times this value, €510 trillion. The global average income per adult in 2021 was €16,700 or PPP €1,390 per month (respectively $23,380 and $1,950), while the average adult individual owns €98,600 ($139,000) in net wealth. However, these average values mask significant inequalities between countries and between citizens. All the statistics presented in this report focus on the distribution of income or wealth across the global adult population of 5.1 billion individuals as of 2021, out of a world population of 7.8 billion when that include children. The bottom 50% of the adult population, or the poorest half of the world population, today consists of 2.5 billion individual adults. The middle 40% represents the population earning more than the bottom 50% but less than the top 10%; it is made up of two billion individual adults. The global top 10% represents one tenth of the world population, i.e. 517 million individual adults. The global top 1% comprises the richest 51 million individual adults. The bellow figures depict the global income and wealth inequality in 2021.

Global Income And Wealth Inequality Between Countries

This Report is very important to understand as to how imperialist powers and capitalist system have divided the world into the rich and the poor within  and between the countries. While the erstwhile colonial powers like Great Britain, France and USA  have become rich and richer whereas the erstwhile colonies like India, African countries remains to be poor with a caveat that micro minority bourgeoises in these countries have become super rich through accumulation of surplus values and exploitation of the labour power of working class. 

The global income and wealth inequality between individuals have two components: inequality between countries and regions  and inequality within countries. In the contemporary global economy, these two components of inequality are very substantial. Inequality within countries is at a historic high today, and inequality between countries remain particularly high despite the emerging world catching up somewhat over the past four decades. Figure bellow  presents average incomes across world regions, expressed as a percentage of the global average income of €16,700 per year. Average income in sub-Saharan Africa is 0.3, i.e. 30% of the global average, and in South and Southeast Asia it is 0.5, i.e. 50% of the global average. Latin America, East Asia, and Russia and Central Asia have average incomes at or near the global average. In Europe, the ratio is more than twice the global average (200%), and in North America it is three times the global average. This means that North Americans earn 10 times more, on average, than sub-Saharan Africans, South and Southeast Asians, while East Asians earn half of what Europeans earn. The report  emphasises with a caution that  incomes are a powerful economic indicator of living standards, but must be complemented by other indicators (time spent at work, quality of public services and infrastructure, quality of civic and human rights, environmental quality, etc.) if they are to be a good representation of inequalities in living standards between countries.

Income Inequality Across The World, 2021

Turning to wealth inequalities between world regions, the Report says that wealth disparities between rich and poor regions are greater than income disparities. Poor regions are relatively poorer in terms of wealth: sub- Saharan Africans, South and Southeast Asians and Latin Americans own just 30-60% of the global average (compared with 50%- 100% for income) as shown in Figure bellow.  It should be noted that for a given amount of capital, poor regions generate relatively more income than richer ones.

It is striking to note that top 10% wealth shares fall broadly in the 60-80% range in all regions. This reveals the persistence of extremely hierarchical private property systems on all continents, irrespective of the political institutions the societies have opted for and irrespective of their level of economic development. North America, the world’s richest region, is also the most unequal when it comes to wealth ownership.

Impact Of The Covid Crisis On Inequality Between Countries

The global Coivd-19 pandemic and the economic crisis that followed hit all world regions, but it hit them with varying intensity. From billionaire wealth records, the Report observes that the gap between the very top of the wealth distribution and the rest of the population has widened dramatically during this pandemic. Between 2021 and 2019, the wealth of the top 0.001% grew by 14%, while average global wealth is estimated to have risen by just 1%. At the top of the top, global billionaire wealth increased by more than 50% between 2019 and 2021.

Chapter-2 of the Report deals with the global inequality from 1820 to now, persistence and mutation of extreme inequality. It sought to understand the  roots of global economic inequality from center and periphery imbalances perspective.

Trajectory Of Global Inequality From 1820 To 2020

The report gives historical perspective pertaining the trajectory of inequality from 1820 to 2020 in great details.  The global inequality rose between 1820 and 1910, and stabilized at a high level since then. Comparing decadal period, it observed that inequalities are as great in 2020 as in 1910 within-country and between-country. The regional decomposition of global inequality reminds of the 1820s. It also emphasizes that taxes and transfers do not reduce global inequality that much. The global inequality within countries is higher than inequality between countries – which nonetheless remains significant. The report tries to understand the roots of global economic inequality in taking into consideration of center and periphery imbalances.  It observes that a given level of global inequality can mask very different realities, like the European-dominated world economic order of 1910 and contemporary multi-polar capitalism. It is not only the very notions of income and wealth that differ across times and cultures, but also forms of economic and political power. It also talks of distribution of economic resources evolved over time and our collective understanding of the roots of justice and injustice across societies.

There is clear rise in global inequality between 1820 and 1910. The top 10% share rose from 50% to 60%, while the bottom 50% share dropped from 14% to 7%. In contrast, the shift observed between 1910 and 2020 involves a number of contradictory changes and compensating trends. The bottom 50% share further dropped from 7% in 1910 to 5% in 1980, before rising to 7% in 2020, so that it is today very close to what it was in 1910. The top 10% share dropped from 60% in 1910 to 54% in 1970, before rising back to 61% by 2000, and declining again to 55% in 2020.  The overall change between 1910 and 2020, there is no clear long-run trend in inequality, either downward or upward, except maybe a small improvement in the share of the global middle 40%.

Within-Country And Between-Country Inequalities Are As Great In 2020 As In 1910

The Report finds that within country inequality increased gradually between 1820 and 1910, then sharply declined between 1910 and 1980, and finally rose again between 1980 and 2020. This is the familiar pattern, found in the United States and Western Europe in the context of the new wave of historical research on inequality. A similar pattern has also been found in Japan, India, Russia, China, Latin America, South Africa, among other places.

Understanding The Roots Of Global Economic Inequality: Center And Periphery Imbalances

The Report sought to locate the roots of the global economic inequality in political and institutional factors, and also the ideological strife between competing state powers and social classes have played major roles in past. Further it stresses the role capital investment (both physical and human capital) in persistent of extreme inequality.  The poorest economic groups have received less capital investment; hence they remain poor. In order to address this anomaly, the Report tend to suggest sufficient redistribution of wealth from the richest global economic groups to the poorest, allowing for massive investment in physical and human capital benefiting the world’s poorest groups. However, the Report itself is conscious of that given the capitalist system in vogue, such things would not happen in near future, unless they are forced to, through revolution, land reform or permanent systems of progressive taxation and redistribution of wealth. The report is very candid to accept that  the richest economic groups are unlikely to give away their assets. They will, rather, attempt to lend resources and earn the highest possible returns out of their capital investment. This has several consequences. First, the fact that the poorest are borrowers who need to repay large sums, rather than asset owners, implies that they have less economic autonomy and fewer incentives to produce. Taking cue from the subtle admission of the report, it can be stated that the predatory character of capitalism and imperialist power has been underlined.  Role of colonialism and military domination by the imperialist power over the poor countries have been recognized. It is very evident that European countries and the USA became rich only because of exploitation of colonized countries including India.  The report gives several instances and studies of such exploitation of resources and accumulation of capital by colonizer and imperialists countries.  Between 1820 and 1910, at the same time as global between-country inequality was rising at an accelerated pace, within-countries inequality was also very high and rising. However when the World War I(1914-18) happened, it is seen that there was a significant decline of income and wealth inequality within Western countries and in other parts of the world. Nonetheless, inequalities remained so high until 1910-1920 that can be accounted for by a mixture of ideological and institutional factors.

A few decades later, the entire system had been turned upside down: universal suffrage was introduced, the Social Democrats took power in 1932 and put the state’s capacities at the service of a completely different political project, based on socioeconomic equality. More generally, the large decline in within-countries inequalities that took place between 1910 and 1980 was the consequence of large-scale political mobilization and institutional change. In little more than 30 years (1914-1945), the balance of power between capital and labor was considerably transformed, thanks to worker mobilization as well to the combined impact of World Wars I and II, the Great Depression and a number of revolutionary events (including the Russian Revolution of October 1917). Various coalitions of social democrats, labor parties, democrats, socialists and communists took power in a great many countries, and implemented combinations of redistributive policies, manifest in the building of the welfare state and policies of progressive taxation on income and wealth. The expansive and inclusive investments in public infrastructure, education and health that followed contributed not only to a sharp reduction in inequalities but also to increased growth and prosperity in post-war Western countries.

The political shocks that occurred between 1914 and 1945 also contributed to the end of colonial empires and to Western dominance, but with substantial delays. In a first step, Europe’s colonial expansion reached its peak between 1910 and 1950, especially the British and French Empires, which inherited the remains of the Ottoman Empire and the German colonies in 1919-1920. In the longer run, World Wars I and II strongly contributed to the weakening of European state powers, the development of strong independence movements, and finally to the end of European colonialism in 1950s-1960s. Between 1950 and 1980, North–South inequality continued to rise, first because it was a period of exceptionally rapid growth in the North, and next because it took a few decades for the newly independent countries to emerge from independence wars and civil unrest, and to design suitable development strategies, which then led in some cases to the reduction of between country inequalities between 1980 and 2020 . Within-country inequalities started to rise again globally around 1980-1990, following the demise of state-led socialism in China and Russia, and the conservative revolution in the West leading to serious reductions in progressive taxation, union power, and minimum wages, and an historical interruption in the rise of the social state. After the 2008 financial crisis, neoliberal policies became less and less attractive, and between-country inequality seems to have reached a plateau.

Chapter-3 of the Report deals with the various facets of countries and its governments. It talks of rich countries and the poor governments: It gives insights on global private and public wealth, the return of private wealth in rich countries. In view of Covid-19 pandemic, the report also deals with its impact on the secular fall of public wealth. Moving ahead, the Report talks of the rise of private wealth in emerging countries and the decline of public wealth across the world. Dealing with the foreign wealth, the Report finds that Net foreign wealth has largely increased in East Asia and fallen in North America. Though, the Report does not refer the dominance of finance capital in clear terms, nonetheless, it says that financialization has increased everywhere since 1980, but at different speeds, it also says that the economies are increasingly owned by foreigners but some have resisted this trend more than others.

Chapter-4 deals with Global wealth inequality and the rise of multimillionaires.  Firstly, it talks about the secrecy and opaqueness of the data pertaining to the financial system. The global financial system remains distinctly opaque in the 21st century, despite recent announcements about the end of tax evasion and financial secrecy. In practice, researchers, journalists, citizens, and public servants still encounter serious difficulties in tracking income and wealth flows across the world. Then it talks about the quantity of the global wealth and where is it held? Issues, like the uneven increase in wealth since the 1990s, extreme growth at the very top, the evolution of wealth inequality in rich countries, wealth inequality in emerging countries and what is driving global wealth inequality have been dealt with facts and data.

Chapter-5 deals with the female Labor Income Share from a Global Perspective.  After tracing the evolution of women’s income share across the world, it observed that women earn just a third of labor income across the globe.

Chapter-6 deals with the global carbon inequality in which issues like the need for better monitoring of global ecological inequalities, bridging the gap between macro data on carbon emissions and individual perceptions etc. have been discussed in great details. It further deals with the per capita emissions that have risen substantially among the global top 1% since 1990 but decreased for poorer groups in rich countries and global carbon emissions inequality. Its finding on carbon emission is significant when it says that one tenth of the population is responsible for close to half of all emissions. In order to address the climate, change it call upon a new approach to climate policymaking, like Shifting the focus from consumers to asset owners.

Chapter-7 of the Report deals with the road to redistributing wealth through mechanisms of progressive tax, modernizing personal wealth taxation.

Chapter-8 talks about taxing multinationals or taxing wealthy individuals. Issues like the role of corporate tax in the progressivity of the tax system, the decline in corporate taxation since the 1980s and the promises and pitfalls of minimum taxation have been addressed with data in this chapter.

Chapter-9 focusses on global vs unilateral Perspectives on Tax Justice. Several important themes like anti-tax evasion schemes contain many loopholes, properly assessing the road towards tax transparency, publishing basic information and towards a global asset register have been discussed in this chapter.

Chapter-10 deals with emancipation, redistribution and sustainability in which the rise of the Welfare State in rich countries (1910-1980), the limited rise of tax revenue and public spending in emerging countries since 1980, the stagnation of global tax revenue and social expenditure (1980-2020) and the failure of trickle-down economics have been critically analyzed. Further, it talks of rise of tax evasion during 1980-2020s undermining tax progressivity.  It emphasizes on 21st-century progressive tax revenue to invest in education, healthcare and the environment, global redistribution: moving beyond development aid and finely talks of ending center-periphery imbalances.

Which Model Is Best Suited To Address Economic Inequality?

Answer is very clear; the predatory capitalism is not the answer. Its irrational, unfair, unjust and undemocratic as well.  The only way out is the scientific socialism which is fair, just  rational, most democratic .  Country sheet of seventeen countries including USA, UK, India, China etc, have been given which depicts inequality in income and wealth among class. A detail discussion of few of country are being presented for having better understanding of inequality and the way to address it. While the capitalist countries show no way out to address the inequality among different class, the socialist countries like erstwhile USSR (during Lenin and Stalin) and China (during Mao) have abolished the inequality through socialist measures.


Extreme Income Inequalities In India

India has been considered as one of the most unequal society in the world. The average national income of the Indian adult population is €PPP7,400 (or INR204,200). While the bottom 50% earns €PPP2 000 (INR53,610), the top 10% earns more than 20 times more (€PPP42 500 or INR1,166,520). While the top 10% and top 1% hold respectively 57% and 22% of total national income, the bottom 50% share has gone down to 13%. India stands out as a poor and very unequal country, with an affluent elite.

Income Inequality In The Long Run: A Historical High

Indian income inequality was very high under British colonial rule (1858-1947), with a top 10% income share around 50%. After independence, socialist-inspired five-year plans contributed to reducing this share to 35-40%. Since the mid- 1980s, deregulation and liberalization policies have led to one of the most extreme increases in income and wealth inequality observed in the world. While the top 1% has largely benefited from economic reforms, growth among low- and middle-income groups has been relatively slow and poverty persists. Over the past three years, the quality of inequality data released by the government has seriously deteriorated, making it particularly difficult to assess recent inequality changes.

Wealth Inequality

Average household wealth in India is equal to €PPP35,000 or INR983,010 (compared with €PPP81,000 in China). The bottom 50% own almost nothing, with an average wealth of €PPP4,200 (6% of the total, INR66,280). The middle class is also relatively poor (with an average wealth of only €PPP26 400 or INR723,930, 29.5% of the total) as compared with the top 10% and 1% who own respectively €PPP231,300 (65% of the total) and over €PPP6.1 million (33%), INR6,354,070, and INR32,449,360.

Gender Inequality

Gender inequalities in India are very high. The female labor income share is equal to 18%. This is significantly lower than the average in Asia (21%, excluding China). This value is one of the lowest in the world, slightly higher than the average share in Middle East (15%). The significant increase observed since 1990  has been insufficient to lift women’s labor income share to the regional average.


Income Inequality In China Today

In China, the average national income of the adult population is €PPP17,700 (or CNY88,870). While the bottom 50% earns €PPP5,100 (CNY25,520), the top 10% earns on average 14 times more (€PPP73,500 or CNY370,210). This gap between incomes of the bottom 50% and the top 10% is higher than the inequalities observed in Europe, but below that of the US (17) and India (21).

Income Inequality In The Long Run

Economic inequality in China followed a U-shape trajectory over the course of the 20th century. The establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 was associated with a fall in inequality levels. The post-1978 economic ‘reforms’ led to fast-rising average incomes as well as growing inequality until the middle of the first decade of the 2000s. Post-2005, investments in health, education and infrastructure in rural areas, helped to keep inequality in check, but wealth inequality continued to increase at the very top of the social pyramid.

A Constant Rise In Wealth Inequality

The average wealth of the bottom 50%, middle 40% and top 10% is equal to €PPP11,000, €PPP56,000 and €PPP583,000 respectively (CNY55,270, CNY280,500 and CNY2,943,907). Overall, the top 10% in China own almost 70% of total national wealth. Wealth inequality in China is higher than the levels found in India (where the share of the top 10% is equal to 64%) and comparable with inequality levels in the US (71%). Since the 1990s, wealth inequality has been on the rise.

Gender Inequality

In context of gender inequality, China is an exception within Asia. The female labor income share is higher than the average in the region (33% vs. 21%) and in Japan (28%). Contrary to the general trend, however, female labor income share in the country is currently declining. Between 1991 and 2019, it decreased by six percentage points.


Income Inequality In Russia Today

In Russia, the average national income is equal to €PPP22,500 (or RUB896,150).20 While the bottom 50% earns €PPP7 700 or RUB304,350 (17% of total income), the top 10% earns on average 14 times more (€PPP104,000 or RUB4,160,690, 46% of the total).

Income Inequality In The Long Run

In the early 20th century, income inequality in Russia was especially high (the top 10% income share was close to 50%), but it dropped significantly after the 1917 revolution. After the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the subsequent “shock therapy” (a mixture of abrupt privatizations and deregulation), incomes at the bottom and the middle of the distribution declined. Conversely, the very rich gained substantially from the new economic regime, large-scale privatizations and very little control over financial flows. Tax evasion among wealthy Russians is particularly high.

Wealth Inequality

The transition to capitalism in Russia has also led to increased wealth accumulation in the country. Since the early 1990s, the share of the top 10% in net national wealth has risen to more than 70%, making the distribution of wealth in Russia one of the most polarized in the world.

Gender Inequality In Russia Today

In Russia, the female labor income share is equal to 40%. This value is significantly above the world average (35%). Historically, the USSR encouraged women’s participation in the labor market and so in general, women in Eastern European countries hold a larger share of total income than in the rest of the world (41% in average in countries of the Eastern bloc). In Russia, women’s income share is higher than Western European countries such as the UK (38%). The share of total income that women earn in Russia has gone up moderately in the last 30 years, gaining three percentage points.


Income Inequality In The United Kingdom Today

In the United Kingdom, the average national income is €PPP32,700 (or GBP32,720).24 While the bottom 50% earns €PPP13 300, the top 10% earns on average nine times more (€PPP116 800). The top 10% captures over 35.5% of total income and the bottom 50% less than 20.5% of it. The gap between top 10% and bottom 50% incomes is smaller than in some European countries, including Germany and Poland (10) but higher than others, for example France (6) and Sweden (7). This gap is much smaller than in the US (21) and China (14).

Income Inequality In The Long Run

The United Kingdom was one the most unequal countries on earth in the early 20th century, with a top 10% income share over 55%, close to levels recorded in Latin America today. The military and economic shocks of the 1910-1940s and decolonization processes hit top incomes hard. In the 1950s, the development of the social state in the UK further reduced inequality in a context of high average income growth rates. The neoliberal turnaround of the early 1980s led to a significant increase in the top 10% share, by around 10 p.p. The financial crisis of 2008 slowed this increase but also depressed average incomes: these were lower in late 2019 than 10 years before.

A Strong Decline In Wealth Inequality In The 20th Century Followed By A Slow Rise

Today, average household wealth stands at €PPP214,000. The bottom 50% owns 5% of household wealth and the top 10% owns 52% of it. In the early 1900s, the top 10% UK wealth share was extreme, i.e. above 90% of the total. Wealth inequalities strongly declined over the 20th century (1910-1980) and mostly during the 1950s-1970s. Since the mid-1980s, the declining trend has been reversed but so far, the rise in wealth has been slower than for income.

Gender Inequality

In the UK, the female labor income share is equal to 38%. This is lower than France (41%) and equal to the Western European average (38%). It is higher than the average in sub-Saharan Africa (28%), Asia (21%, excluding China) and comparable with North America (38%), but lower than in Eastern Europe (41%). Since 1990, we observe a significant increase in female labor income share, with a gain of eight points over 30 years.


Income Inequality In The US Is Among The Highest Among Rich Countries

In the US, the average national income of the adult population is €PPP54,300 (or USD77,090).25 While the bottom 50% earns €PPP14 500 (USD20,520) per person, the top 10% earns on average 17 times more (€PPP246 800 or USD350,440). The ratio of 17 between incomes of the top 10% and the bottom 50% is significantly higher than in European countries (ranging from 6 to 10) and in China (14). The top 10% captures 45.5% of total income while just 13.3% goes to the bottom 50%.


Income Inequality Is Back To Historical Highs

The top 10% income share in the US dropped significantly after the Second World War (from slightly below 50% in the 1930s to 35-40% in the 1950-1960s), under the effect of strong capital control policies and a rise in federal spending, accompanied by strongly progressive taxation. The 1950-1980s were also marked by rapidly rising average incomes. From the early 1980s onward, deregulation, privatizations, decreases in tax progressivity and a decline in union coverage all contributed to a formidable rise in the top 10% income share (from around 34% in 1980 to 45% today) and a drop in the bottom 50% (from 19% to 13%).

Wealth Inequality

Wealth inequality levels in the contemporary US are close to those observed at the beginning of the 20th century, with a top 10% wealth share above 70%. Wealth inequality has followed similar dynamics as income over the past century. Today, average wealth for the top 10%, middle

40% and bottom 50% are respectively equal to €PPP2,004,400, €PPP197,300 and €PPP8,500 (USD2,846,360, USD280,150 and USD12,130). The share of total wealth owned by the poorest half of the US population is extremely small (1.5% of the total). While average household wealth in the US is 3.5 times higher than in China, the bottom 50% of the US population owns less wealth than the Chinese bottom 50%, in purchasing power parity terms.

Gender Inequality

In the US, the female labor income share is equal to 39%. This stands in between Canada (38%) and Russia (40%), and significantly above China (33%). While the share has risen in the US since 1990 (up from 34%), progress remains slow. Women’s representation among richest income groups is particularly low today: among the top 1% of earners, women make up only 12% of earnings.

7.2 lakh people to be pushed into poverty every day this year: Oxfam

As the rich and powerful from across the globe gather for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022 from May 22-26, a new report titled ‘Profiting from Pain’ released on 23rd May by Oxfam International said the COVID-19 pandemic has seen one new billionaire emerging every 30 hours, while nearly one million people could be pushed into extreme poverty every 33 hours this year (i.e. a total of 26.3 crore people this year and 7.2 lakh every day!).Billionaires’ wealth has risen more in the first 24 months of COVID-19 than in 23 years combined. The total wealth of the world’s billionaires is now equivalent to 13.9% of global GDP, marking a three-fold increase from 4.4% in 2000, it added. It further said that as the cost of essential goods rises faster than it has in decades, billionaires in the food and energy sectors are increasing their fortunes by $1 billion every two days. It said the richest 20 billionaires are worth more than the entire GDP of Sub-Saharan Africa while 60% of low-income countries are on the brink of debt distress. It further said that 2,668 billionaires – 573 more than in 2020 – own $12.7 trillion, an increase of $3.78 trillion, while the world’s ten richest men own more wealth than the bottom 40% of humanity or 3.1 billion people. Oxfam further said the pandemic has created 40 new pharma billionaires and alleged that pharmaceutical corporations like Moderna and Pfizer are making $1,000 profit every second just from their monopoly control of the COVID-19 vaccine, despite its development having been supported by billions of dollars in public investments.Inputs: The Hindu


The message of the Report is very clear. The capitalist system guided by monopoly finance capital and imperialist powers is incapable of to eradicate or even minimize the rising inequality within the country and beyond. It only benefits a few super rich capitalists and other bourgeoise including the ruling political class.  Inequality is anathema to the principles and values of ‘democracy’. This bourgeoise democracy gets its life and blood from the predator capitalist class who are responsible for inequality, misery and death of vast majority population on the planet. The only solution to this monster called capitalism is revolution and guided by the revolutionary. In the Report itself, the importance of socialist revolution socialist model adopted in USSR and Chian has been underlined in reference to eradicating income and wealth inequality in a highly unequal society.

In its Forward, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo assert ‘read it, shout out its messages, find ways to act upon it’ and caution bourgeoises politicians and policy makers of ‘revolution’, if redistributive policies through imposing wealth tax on super rich and proper regulations etc.  are not taken to reduce the glaring level of income and wealth inequality.  As the Report makes a very honest political statement when it says that “Inequality is a political choice, not an inevitability”, hence the measures to eradicate inequality of all kinds whether economic or social calls for the correct and revolutionary political theory which could end the barbarity of capitalist system through revolutionary movement.[Author is a political activist and researcher in Kolkata.]

[1] The WIL hosts the World Inequality Database, the most extensive public database on global inequality dynamics.



[4] National income is the sum of all incomes received by individuals residents in a given country over a year. Incomes takes various forms and we typically distinguish two broad sources: incomes stemming from individuals’ labor (e.g. wages or salaries) and incomes stemming from individuals’ wealth (e.g. interest and dividends).

[5] National wealth is the sum of the value of all assets owned by individuals in a given country. It is stock resulting from capital accumulation (from savings, i.e. income that has not been consumed) and price effects.