World Inequality Report 2022: Poor become poorer, billionaire becomes richer
World Inequality Report 2022 says that India is ‘poor and a very unequal country’ as the gap between rich and poor widens extremely
The top 10% of Indians owned 57% of the total national income, according to the report released by a group founded by a French economist Thomas Piketty. The World Inequality Report 2022 has revealed the income disparity has resulted in an extreme unequal share of wealth in India.
“India stands out as a poor and very unequal country, with affluent elite,” the report read. It read that the top 1% of Indians owned more than one-fifth of the total national income. Contrarily, the bottom 50% only owned 13% of the total national income.
Extreme inequality in India
The per capita annual earning of the bottom half of the country’s population was 53,610 rupees. Meanwhile, an individual from the top 10% of the population owned more than 20 times the amount.
“Since the mid-1980s, deregulation and liberalisation policies have led to one of the most extreme increases in income and wealth inequality observed in the world,” the World Inequality Lab’s report read, which does work through evidence-based research on inequality worldwide. The liberalisation policies have helped the top 1% and 10% to grow exponentially. But the growth among the middle-class is slow, and poverty still exists.
The average Indian household wealth is 9,83,010 rupees, while the bottom 50% owned almost nothing. Their average wealth is a paltry 66,280 rupees. The Indian middle-class is also relatively poorer than other countries. The average wealth of the Indian middle class is 7,23,930 rupees. However, the top 10% of the population owns around 6,354,070 rupees, and a per cent of ultra-rich Indians owned 32,449,360 rupees.
The gender-inequalities are also very high in this country as the female labour income share is just 18%. It is significantly lower than the Asian average at 21%, excluding China.
“Women’s labour income share is far below 50% in every world region; at the global level in 2020, women’s share is about 35% (vs 65% for men); it has been rising since 2000 (33% for women, 67% for men), but the progress is very slow and even negative in some regions,” Thomas Piketty tweeted.
The growing wealth of the world’s billionaires
The global population has raised their wealth by around 3.2% annually. However, the study revealed that the richest or the likes of the world’s top 50 billionaires increased their wealth by 9% annually in the same period.
“In the US, the return of top wealth inequality has been particularly dramatic, with the top 1% share nearing 35% in 2020, approaching its Gilded Age level compared with less than 25% in 1970,” the report noted.
Around 2,750 billionaires across the globe now owned 3.5% of the total world’s wealth, a magnificent jump from just 1% in 1995.
The effect of Covid on inequality
The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the wealth accumulation by the ultra-rich. The report noted that 2020 marked the ever-recorded highest jump in the share of global billionaire wealth.
As per Inequality.org, America’s billionaires have seen their total wealth jump by 70%, equivalent of more than $2 trillion, since the onset of the pandemic. The group said that USA billionaires have a combined wealth of $5 trillion (estimated). It amounts to more than a quarter of the US GDP.