Tuesday, June 24, 2008

'Qu'ils Mangent De La Brioche' (Let Them Eat Cake): 87 Per Cent Of Germans And 78 Per Cent Of American Now Think Income/Wealth Inequality Is Too Great

"Public opinion across Europe, Asia, and the US is strikingly consistent in considering that the gap between rich and poor is too wide and that the wealthy should pay more taxes.

Income inequality has emerged as a highly contentious political issue in many countries as the latest wave of globalisation has created a “superclass” of rich people.

A United National Development Programme report in 2005 estimated that the world’s richest 50 people were earning more than the 416 million poorest.

According to the latest FT/Harris poll, strong majorities in five European countries – ranging from 76 per cent in Spain to 87 per cent in Germany – consider that income inequality is too great.

But 78 per cent of respondents in the US, traditionally seen as more tolerant of income inequality, also think the gap is too wide." ...

John Thornhill "Poll shows wide dislike of wealth gap" Financial Times May 18, 2008

Header picture: Ma Thidar Hlaing smiles as she holds baby Thet Su Wai Hninn, born one week after Cyclone Nargis devastated the Ayeyarwady delta in Myanmar, Southeast Asia. Thet Su Wai Hninn was born at the Zay Yar Boan Myint Monastery in Bogale, Myanmar. (UNDP photo, June 20, 2008)


"Gourmet restaurants, world-class nightclubs, favorable tax breaks--not to mention proximity to the world's financial centers. These are some of the attributes that make a city particularly attractive to billionaires and cause many of them to cluster in the same urban communities. It's no wonder, then, that one in three billionaires call one of 10 cosmopolitan cities home.

Despite all the squabbling between New York and London for bragging rights, neither is actually home to the largest number of billionaires. That honor belongs to Moscow. [Istanbul, Turkey, Future European Union, is number 4.]

The Russian capital is home to 74 billionaires, with an average net worth of $5.9 billion. That's quite a jump from just five billionaire residents in 2002....

What makes Moscow so popular with Russia's wealthiest? Says billionaire oilman Viktor Vekselberg, "The standard of living in Moscow is on par with all of the world capitals." And it's less expensive. A ticket to Russia's famed Bolshoi Theater--where the likes of Mikhail Baryshnikov has danced--will only set you back $50. And top-notch kindergartens run by the government are free.

Moscow knocked off perennial No. 1 city New York, who is close behind with 71 billionaires and an average net worth of $3.3 billion. It is the first time since 2001, when we started closely tracking the city data, that New York hasn't been at the top. More than half of these New Yorkers make their money in finance and investments." ...

Chaniga Vorasarun "The World's Richest People: Cities Of The Billionaires" Forbes April 30, 2008

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Map credit: © 2002-2008 WGBH. All Rights Reserved. With thanks.


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