Opening Our Eyes to Human Suffering

The emergence of the “ultrarich”

• “The ultrarich represent an emergent global aristocracy – or rather, a new oligarchy. Fewer than one hundred billionaires now own as much as 50 percent of the world’s assets —the same amount that around four hundred billionaires owned a little more than five years ago. In the United States, the richest four hundred U.S. citizens now have more wealth than 185 million of their fellow Americans combined. The shift has been dramatic: the top 1 percent in America captured just 4.9 percent of total U.S. income growth from 1945 to 1973, but in the following two decades the country’s richest classes gobbled up the majority of U.S. income growth” (Joel Kotkin, America’s Drift toward Feudalism).

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