The 1% will soon own more than the bottom 50%, eh? We’re all totally doomed.

Top 1 Percent World's Wealth

I think by this point, most people understand the idea that institutionalized wealth is pretty much everything, and the people that have it ultimately strive to protect it, and often they do a pretty good job of doing so. New data is always coming out that’s utterly damning in this regard, such as this Oxfam report that, soon, the 1% will hold as much of the planet’s wealth as the bottom 50%. Here’s a graphic:

1 Percent Global Wealth

Look at those last two numbers — that’s actually the messed-up part more than anything. As the rich literally get richer, earnings are stagnant or declining for most everyone else.

The ironic thing about these studies, to me, is that I think — again, think; I could be wrong — that they’re put out in the hopes that people begin to take real action around the idea of inequality and leveling the playing field somewhat.

The problem is that when you put out staggering information like this — that literally, a group representing 1 percent of the world holds as much wealth as half the world — then you just terrify everyone, and instead of wanting to take action, everyone reverts to their comfortable bubble of trying to determine some value in their own life.

This broadly mirrors a work schism that you see: people love to talk at the macro level, but actual decisions happen at the micro level. So “macro”-wise, we can discuss this whole “OMG THE 1 PERCENT IS TAKING ALL THE MONEY,” but what we do about it needs to happen at the micro — i.e. closer to individual — level. When people are confronted with realities such as this, they typically just default to trying to do the best they can in their own world.

Also, the “one vs. many” narrative hasn’t exactly worked out well in recent history.

Are we all doomed? No. Not really. Focus on your own life and your own family and try to make that as good as it can be. That’s really all you can do.

But if you don’t, by this point, think that inequality is a truly pervasive problem, you’re probably living under a rock — or perhaps in a penthouse.

Ted Bauer