We all know that the world's wealth is very unfairly distributed, and that's putting it mildly. However although most of us are aware of this “unfair” distribution, it is difficult to grasp the extent. The world's population is approximately 7 billion and at the bottom end of this catastrophic unjust distribution of resources, vast swathes of this population live in unimaginable deprivation. While at the top end there is a small group of individuals with wealth that outstrips that of some nations.
Let's look at the mass that struggle daily for survival and on numerous occasions don't make it beyond childhood. Approximately 1,000 people die from hunger over hour, mostly children or young people. Every 5 seconds a child dies from hunger related diseases, more than 11 million children die each year from preventable health issues such as, pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea. In this rich and varied world approximately 1.4 billion people in the developing countries have to live on $1.25 a day or less, and it is estimated that 22,000 children die every single day due to poverty.
At the top end of this unjust greed driven system we have individuals awash in wealth, wealth of unimaginable proportions. The world's GDP is approximately $70 trillion, while 0.1% of the world's population control $42 trillion and 0.001% control $14.6 trillion. There are 100,000 individuals with assets of $30 million or more and we have 11 million individuals with assets of $1 million or more. The top 20% of the world's population control 82.8% of the world's wealth, while the bottom 20% have less that 1%.
Not by any stretch of the imagination could this be called an endorsement for capitalism, on the contrary it is an indictment against the system. What could you do with that $42 trillion controlled by that 1%? Well for starters it could pay off the entire debt of Greece, Italy, Ireland, Spain and Portugal ten times over. It could fund 187 years of universal primary and secondary education. Or an even greater achievement, it could fund the UN millennium goal for clean water 1,400 times over. It could also fund 250 years of climate change adaptation.
So what does this tell us? It tells us that we have sufficient wealth and resources to see to the needs of all the people of this world. It is already there, we don't have to dream up where it will come from. The real problem is just that it is in the hands of a very few extremely greedy individuals, and it is the system of capitalism that has brought this about and will perpetuate this unnecessary unjust divide. To solve the problem of deprivation and early death from preventable disease, capitalism has to go and a society based on mutual aid, co-operation created in its place. It is not rocket science, it is common humanity taking place of greed driven profit.
Most of these figures were gleaned from TNI.org.