A study just realeased by Merrill Lynch Wealth Management (a Bank of America subsidiary) and the French economic consulting firm Capgemini will cheer the hearts of many.
The total number of millionaires worldwide last year climbed back above 10 million, after a bad year in 2008 which saw the ranks of the very rich decline by 1.5 million.
Last year the number of millionaires (including billionaires and mega-millionaires) increased by 17 percent.
But the average net worth of this elite group – the richest one-sixth of one percent of all people in the world – increased by more than 18 percent.
I wonder how many www.WRISEUP.COM reads\ers saw their personal wealth increase by 18 percent in one year at the height of the worst global recession since the Great Depression of the Dirty Thirties.
Of course that total of 10 million does not really include all the worldès millionaires. It only includes millionaires, mega-millionaires and billionaires whose net worth (all assets minus all debts) does not include their principal
place of residence, its furnishings, or their principal vehicle (their Èdaily living assetsÈ). If you include those vital everyday assets, the number on net millionaires, mega-millionaires and billionaires probably rises to about 20 million or almost one third of one percent of the global population.
But letès not count those poorest 10 million millionaires. Letès just count the richest 10 million.
Together, their combined net wealth is more that $39 trillion or about 60 percent of the global Gross National Product – or about $1.5 trillion more than every national, provincial, state and local government in the world combined owes.
Now just imagine what a real global wealth tax could do.
Let us apply that wealth tax to just the 10 million richest. And let us make it a progressive tax, ranging from just 10 percent at the $1-million level and 90 percent at the multi-billionaire level. If that tax took on average just half of that accumulated wealth – 50 percent.
It would raise almost $20 trillion worldwide. The worst global recession since the Great Depression would be instantly over.
If every government in the world suddenly had half of its debt erased,imagine the capacity there would be for new spending on health, education, housing, social programs and income supports.
And who would be hurt and by how muchÉ
Remember only the 10 million richest would be touched – thatès everybody with a net worth of $10 million U.S., excluding their principal home, all its furnishing and their principal vehicle.
At the lowest levels of that group, the next wealth tax would be about $100,000. Their net worth would still be over a million if you include their home.
At the highest levels – the levels of mega-billionaires Carlos Slim and Bill Gates –
they would still be multi-billionaires.
And in a world where a billion go to bed hungry each night and a child in the Third World dies for lack of food or medicine every three seconds, 24-7-365, why should anybody be a billionaireÉ
Now consider the billionaires and the mega-millionaires. Almost the entirety of their fantastic wealth is either wealth stolen from exploited workers or money that should have been paid in taxes long ago.
And also consider that most of the wealth of the worldès 1,000+ billionaires has been received in the form of shares and has never been taxed and never will be taxed under the present systems as long as they keep their shares.
Such a one-time global wealth tax now could save the entire world economy and prevent much unnecessary hardship. The lack of such a real, one-time, progressive global wealth tax could doom much of mankind.