**THE UNIMAGINABLE INEQUALITY OF THE MODERN WORLD**

BY JOHN HOLT

‘The unimaginable inequality of the modern world’ –

*and how to get your head around it!*

It is no surprise to almost anyone that the world is an unequal place with small groups of people owning vast sums of wealth while others want for the very basic necessities of life. While the existence of inequality is no shock the sheer scale of inequality is far greater than what many believe. In fact economic inequality is so profound in the modern world that its true scale is almost unimaginable. This article outlines several unique ways in which you may get your head around the scale of inequality more easily. [All data in this article is sourced and referenced at the bottom of the page as well as the maths used in making our calculations.]

Global inequality – the ‘slightly’ shocking bit

On planet earth in January 2016 there are 7.3 billion people and counting

In January 2016 the anti-poverty organisation OXFAM published research ahead of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos stating the scale of inequality:

- The richest 1% of the world have more wealth than the rest of the world’s population combined. In other words in 2016 the richest 1% (70 million people)
*control more of the entire wealth*of the world than the 99% combined (7320 million people or 7.32 billion)

- The wealth of the world is not however between a rich 1% and an equally poor 99%. The same research indicated that the richest 20% of the world control 94.5% of the world’s wealth while the poorest 80% control just 5.5% of the world’s wealth.

- To find yourself in the 1% category requires a wealth of approximately ½ a million (500,000) UK pounds (712,000 US Dollars or 654,000 Euros). The average wealth of those in the top 1% was approximately 1.9 million UK pounds (2.7 million US Dollars or 2.48 million Euros). The average wealth of the poorest 80% was 2,500 UK pounds (3,560 US Dollars or 3,270 Euros).

Global inequality – the TRULY shocking bit

The richest 80 (EIGHT-ZERO) people on the planet have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 50% of the planet a grand total of 3.65 billion people (3,650,000,000). It is calculated that poorest 50% of the world’s population earn less than 1.75 UK pounds a day (2.50 US Dollars or 2.3 Euros)

**IT IS HERE THAT THE TRUE SCALE OF INEQUALITY BECOMES UNIMAGINABLE FOR MANY – SO LET US TRY WITH A FEW REPRESENTATIONS!**

Visualising 80 people is fairly easy BUT what about visualising the 3.65 billion people who must share between them the same quantity of wealth?

**Try this:**

The wealthiest 80 people in the world have the same amount of wealth equal to the population of over 10 United States (current population 322 million)

OR

The population of 45 Germanys

OR

The population of 57 United Kingdoms

**STILL HARD TO VISUALISE THOUGH!**

Then try this:

An Olympic sized swimming pool (50m long, 2m deep, 25 m wide, much likely bigger than your local swimming pool) contains 2,500,000 litres of water (2.5 million litres).

If the poorest 50% were represented by all of the water in the swimming pool then the 80 wealthiest people would be represented by between 3 or 4 tablespoons of water.

In other words 3 and 4 tablespoons of water and an Olympic sized swimming pool have an equal share of the world’s wealth.

**HOW ABOUT THIS**

If the 80 richest were represented by a grain of salt, barely visible to the naked eye, then the poorest 50% of the world would be represented by approximately 23 full cups of salt.

In other words a grain of salt and 23 full cups of salt have an equal share of the world’s wealth.

**AND THIS**

If the 80 richest people were represented by 1 single strand of human hair, then the poorest 50% of the world would be represented by the full heads of hair of 304 people.

In other words one strand of hair and the full heads of hair of 304 people have an equal share of the world’s wealth.

**AND IT IS GETTING WORSE**

The research goes on to state that the poorest 20% of the world deemed to be living in extreme poverty barely saw any increase in wealth between 1988 and the present decade while the richest 10% saw their wealth increase by a whopping 46%!

**IF CHARITY WORKED ……**

If charity worked it would have worked by now - What is certain is that we cannot rest hope upon the philanthropy and good will of the modern uber-elite.

DATA 1:

Olympic sized swimming poll has according to the International Swimming Federation approximately 2.5 million litres of water.

2.5 million litres (or 2,500,000 L) x 1000 ml in a LITRE

Olympic sized swimming pool therefore has 2,500,000,000 mL or 2.5 billion mL

2.5 billion / 3.65 billion = 0.684 mL represents one person if the entire swimming pool is to represent the 50% poorest of humanity

Therefore in comparison the richest 80 people is represented by: 80 x 0.684mL = 54.72 mL

54.72 mL is less than 1/10th of a UK pint (568ml) or according to http://www.metric-conversions.org/ this equates to roughly 3 UK tablespoon measurements

DATA 2:

If grains of salt are to represent 80 individuals then 3.65 billion people would be represented by 3,500,000,000 / 80 = 45,625,000 grains of salt (45.625 million grains of salt).

According to bowkerhouse.blogspot a half cup contains slightly less than 1 million grains of salt. Therefore 45.625 million grains of salt / 2 in order to find whole cups = 22.8 cups of salt should represent the 50% poorest people on the planet

DATA 3:

According to www.sharecare.com the average person (with a full head of hair) has 150,000 single strands of hair on their heads. If one single strand of hair = 80 people then:

3.65 billion / 80 = 45,625,000 strand of hair equal the poorest 50% of the world

45,625,000 / 150,000 (one head of hair) = 304. Therefore the poorest 50% of humanity should be represented by 304 full heads of hair

Olympic sized swimming poll has according to the International Swimming Federation approximately 2.5 million litres of water.

2.5 million litres (or 2,500,000 L) x 1000 ml in a LITRE

Olympic sized swimming pool therefore has 2,500,000,000 mL or 2.5 billion mL

2.5 billion / 3.65 billion = 0.684 mL represents one person if the entire swimming pool is to represent the 50% poorest of humanity

Therefore in comparison the richest 80 people is represented by: 80 x 0.684mL = 54.72 mL

54.72 mL is less than 1/10th of a UK pint (568ml) or according to http://www.metric-conversions.org/ this equates to roughly 3 UK tablespoon measurements

DATA 2:

If grains of salt are to represent 80 individuals then 3.65 billion people would be represented by 3,500,000,000 / 80 = 45,625,000 grains of salt (45.625 million grains of salt).

According to bowkerhouse.blogspot a half cup contains slightly less than 1 million grains of salt. Therefore 45.625 million grains of salt / 2 in order to find whole cups = 22.8 cups of salt should represent the 50% poorest people on the planet

DATA 3:

According to www.sharecare.com the average person (with a full head of hair) has 150,000 single strands of hair on their heads. If one single strand of hair = 80 people then:

3.65 billion / 80 = 45,625,000 strand of hair equal the poorest 50% of the world

45,625,000 / 150,000 (one head of hair) = 304. Therefore the poorest 50% of humanity should be represented by 304 full heads of hair