Michael Roberts: 1% own 45% of the world’s personal wealth while nearly 3bn people have little or none / Fouâd Oveisy: On the Authoritarian Turn of Global Capital

Just 56m or 1% of adults out of 5.3bn globally are millionaires in net wealth terms. And they own 45% of all global personal wealth. The other 99% own the rest and there are nearly 3bn people in the world that have little or no wealth at all (after debts are deducted). Every year I report on the results of the annual Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report. Produced by economists Anthony Shorrocks (with whom I graduated at university), James Davies and Rodrigo Lluberas, this is the most comprehensive study of global personal wealth and inequality between adults around the world.

In the 2021 report, the economists find that the global wealth gap widened during the Covid pandemic, swelling the ranks of the world’s millionaires by 5.2 million as the rich cashed in on surging stock and house prices. I quote “During the pandemic, emergency interest rate cuts and government stimulus measures often benefited those least in need of state support, helping their assets grow in value despite the economic downturn.” The report finds that dollar millionaires now account for more than 1% of the global population for the first time in history: 56.1 million individuals had assets worth more than $1m (£720m) in 2020. That compares with the mean average wealth per adult in the world of just under $80,000….


Fouâd Oveisy: On the Authoritarian Turn of Global Capital

To begin with, let us quickly situate our historical moment in the wider dynamics of what I have previously identified as a mutating neoliberalism. For as I write, American capital, like the Dutch or British capital before it, is contending with being dethroned as the sovereign of a century-old empire and adjusting to becoming a major player in a forthcoming bipolar world order, alongside China. It is a shift that has fractured the American capitalist camp into the pro-establishment faction of the likes of Biden and Clinton, and a new faction personified by Trump that aims to transition global capitalism toward authoritarian administrations of national capital.

This would emerge as a certain ‘civilizational capitalism’ that dispenses with Western liberalism’s imperialism and favors any administration from any ideological background, insofar as it is friendly to the interests of capital anywhere and everywhere. For what is ‘new’ here is not that US and global capital get to welcome ‘illiberal’ or ‘mercantilist’ capitals at last – that has long been the system wide norm – but rather the feudal character and reorganization of capitalism on a national and world scale in what amounts to a strategic and economic necessity in a world torn by two sovereigns, for reasons that follow…


More articles on global capitalism: http://www.cadtm.org/Newsletter

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Walter Benjamin: Capitalism as Religion (1921)

George Lakey on Capitalism, public health and the Nordic model

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Tanya Gold – How materialism makes us sad

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On the Authoritarian Turn of Global Capital and its Contradictions in the USA

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