Illustrating Global Wealth Inequality

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A four-minute video aims to reveal the laws that govern our global economy.

By Lisa Wade

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(Photo: The Rules/YouTube)

Wealth inequality in the United States is extreme, but global wealth inequality, illustrates a video by The Rules, is even more stunning. Some facts:

  • The top 20 percent control 80 percent of the world’s wealth.
  • The richest two percent control more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population.
  • The richest 300 people on Earth have more wealth than the poorest 3,000,000,000.
  • Two hundred years ago, rich countries were three times as rich as poor countries. Today, they are 80 times richer.
  • Rich countries give $130 billion worth of aid to poor countries every year, but they extract $2 trillion each year thanks to global economic rules.

Here are their sources; or watch the four-minute video:

The Rules wants to reveal and challenge the laws that govern our global economy. It is a distinctly sociological project, looking at how factors outside of individuals — or, in this case, countries — shape lives. Shaped strongly by the richest countries in their own best interest, rules governing the trading of goods and money are determining the economic solvency and future of countries.

When those rules are invisible, it can seem like struggling countries are just poorly managed or culturally problematic when, in fact, the rules ensure that the deck is stacked against them.

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This story originally appeared on Sociological Images, a Pacific Standard partner site, as “Illustrating Global Wealth Inequality.”

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