Monday, January 18, 2016

Another brief news cycle about the super wealthy

Kumbha Mela: The more you give, the more you 've got to give.

The super wealthy? The more you have, the more you gotta have?

The wealth of the world's richest 62 people is the same as that of half of the population, it's today's big headline in the European media, from TheGuardian to the conservative outlets.

TheGuardian illustrates its article with a tasteful night time photo of a harbor filled with yachts. Yachts are typically associated with wealth, seen as stereotypical toys where raunchy party excesses take place. The image shows an unspecified but obviously European harbor.

German Zeit Online goes with a slick yacht photo taken at French port Cannes.

German Spiegel Online, on the other hand, opts for the view of the poor: a photo of two children, vaguely ethnic, walking along a fairly barren land in the twilight of dawn or dusk.

Conservative German FAZ goes with the Guardian's concept but shows yachts of the super rich in the Chinese city of Sanya, thus creating a focus on the ostentatious newly rich of Asia.

French daily Le Monde has nothing at the time of this writing.

You have noticed that the blogster focused on the presentation of the article in several European papers. The reason for this is simple, the blogster is at a loss for something new and passionate to say about the phenomenon.

The facts are known, the direction of development is known, many solutions as countermeasures are being discussed yet again in the OXFAM study and the media.

So, instead of being glib about next week's Davos Economic Forum summit with so many private jets coming in that airports near and far will be full, we refer you to two previous posts.

Ooops, the rich are richer than we figured, new ECB study says

Higher rates of depression in wealthier German states

For the more demanding readers, we suggest Picketty, Freakonimics, or any of the brilliant thinkers not owned by big corporations.

We salute those wealthy humans who do something good with their riches. We know they exist, and we count some among our friends.

The rest of us, as poor as the blogster or even poorer, we'll be okay.


[Update 1/18/2016] The discussion is on! Some argue that overall poverty is declining, so all is well. Absolute poverty, currently defined as the number of people living on less than $ 1.90 a day, has indeed been declining. A great chart on the subject is by Max Roser and can be found in Quartz, among other publications.
Conflating the two is ill-advised and really suggests that a (free) online course or two in economics and statistics might be a good idea for the new year.

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