Reports from the Economic Front

a blog by Marty Hart-Landsberg

The Concentration of Wealth

In their 2014 study, “The Distribution of US Wealth, Capital Income and Returns since 1913,” economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman find that “capital inequality” continues to grow, but the gains are flowing only to those at the very top of the wealth scale.

The first chart shows that the share of wealth going to the top 10% of wealth holders has been steadily increasing since the mid-1980s.

top 10
However, as we can see from the next chart, the top 1% of wealth holders has done far better than the top 10% in capturing wealth.  In fact, the share of wealth going to the top 10%-1% has actually been declining.

top 1

But the gains are even more concentrated than the Occupy Movement realized.  As Saez and Zucman show below, the surge in wealth going to the top 1% is largely driven by the gains of the top 0.1%.

top .1


Sadly, there has been far too little discussion/debate about the underlying policies and processes that are driving these trends.

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