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We’re #1!

from David Ruccio


According to calculations by Kenneth Thomas (based on data in the latest Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report), the United States has the most unequal distribution of wealth of any rich nation.  

And it’s not even close!

Thomas calculates the ratio of mean to median wealth for each country (the last column in the table above) to devise a measure of wealth inequality.

As you can see, the U.S. inequality ratio is more than 50% higher than #2 Denmark and fully three times as high as the median country on the list, France.

  1. March 22, 2017 at 11:18 am

    I wonder if it’s possible to add China to the list?

    • March 23, 2017 at 12:33 am

      Which set of books would you prefer to use, Ken?

      • March 24, 2017 at 7:17 am

        I assume China has government numbers that would be applicable. Am I wrong?

  2. Ben Morgentau
    March 23, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Some years ago i have read a short information about the so called CS Wealth Report in a daily swiss news site. As it was, the published data included the very rich and the very poor as well. Included in the report was therefore the respective data belonging to the two groups. The differences between the poorest and richest was so extreme that rich clients began to complain about this report. CS published a revised report without the data of the richest and poorest… i am not sure anymore but i believe this was the year 2011

  3. Risk Analyst
    March 23, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    My light bulb moment was seeing Larry Ellison’s yacht in San Francisco bay. It is about three-fifths the length of a US Destroyer. All that money and resources for someone’s toy.

  4. March 24, 2017 at 5:18 pm


    I’m unaware that we can or should trust the official Gov’t numbers, based on the books I’ve read by China “hands.” And we’ve got some of our own listed as founding members of the WEA, including Henry C.K. Liu, whose work I used to read every week at Asian Times during the Financial Crisis. So Henry, if you’re following, I’ll defer to you…

    • March 25, 2017 at 7:45 am

      I’m curious. The GINI coefficient for China from the CIA in 2012 is 42.2, compared to the US 45, Germany’s 27, and France’s 30.1. Do these sound at all reasonable?

  5. March 25, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    I’m not going to change my initial reaction here Ken, but I’m open to anyone who has the passion and facts to make a different case. And I’ll site my sources for grave reservations coming out of China…which would include the CIA’s which must logically, I think, be based ultimately on China sources too: In the order I read them: “Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China,” (2008) by Leslie T. Chang, who was the Wall St. Journal reporter covering China, having lived there for a decade; and Alexandra Harney’s “The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Adavantage,” also from 2008. Harney covered Asia from 1998-2008 for the Financial Times. I guess I’m protecting my flank, for what it’s worth, by citing two people who worked for very capitalist businesses; I think they rose above being just business journalists…

    Maybe we can here from James Galbraith, who at one time wrote that comparisons of living standards for workers were tough, that Chinese workers had some benefits that didn’t show up in the pay checks – not health insurance, though in most cases – and both these books hardly celebrate Chinese factory “dorm life.” Prison life is closer to the truth in terms of loss of freedom of movement – and just plain time for oneself.

    • March 26, 2017 at 10:07 am

      Thanks for the references. I’ve also emailed some foreign service friends for estimates. Should hear back by tomorrow.

  6. Jamie
    March 26, 2017 at 11:32 am

    On China data etc see Thomas Rawski as one of the longstanding critics of government statistics and Dorothy Solinger on the conditions of the working class; there is also a recent special issue of the journal Globalizations which contains work by leading dissident China labour lawyers in collaboration with expert activists on unions (edited by Andreas Bieler)
    MArk Selden, one of the founders of CCAS is also good as is Shaun Breslin
    best, Jamie

  7. March 26, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Many thanks Jamie. Will pursue. Important issue – for the Chinese people – and those in the West. Too much silence in high circles, public debate circles.

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