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The world's 85 richest people are as wealthy as the poorest 3 billion


The report that everybody's talking about this morning is Oxfam's opus on global inequality, which leads with an eye-popping statistic: The richest 85 people in the world own more wealth than the bottom half of the entire global population.


Yes, that equation works out to: 85 > 3,000,000,000.


Before we dig into the document, a programming note about wealth inequality. Wealth isn't income. Salary is income. But investments—stocks, houses, or equity in a business—build wealth. Wealth comes from the money you don't immediately spend. Since poor people spend more of their income immediately, and rich people save/invest more of their income immediately, it's predictable that wealth inequality be much worse than income inequality.


That said, the document is full of figures that will make your head explode if you are about income inequality. Here are five.


1) Seven in ten people live in countries where inequality has increased, and the United States is leading the wave. This graph from the report looks at national income (not wealth) accumulation to the top one percent, but it makes a clear point that inequality is rising everywhere, but nowhere more than the U.S.

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