Rise in wealthy individuals highlights global failure to address inequality
Asia-Pacific pulled ahead of North America as the world’s largest wealth market for the first time in 2015, according to consulting firm
Cap Gemini
in its
World Wealth Report
released on 23rd June 2016. Assets of high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) in Asia-Pacific rose around 10 percent to US$17 trillion, leaving second North America with US$16.6 trillion, according to the report. The global rate of wealth expansion among populations and HNWIs rose 4 percent to US$58.7 trillion, driven largely by “double-figure growth” in both general and ultra wealth in China and Japan. Slower growth in the Americas tempered overall expansion however. Brazil performed worst of all global wealth generators, shrinking 7.8 percent across the population. Development network
ACT Alliance
said the report indicates governments’ failures to reduce economic and social inequalities. The network’s General Secretary John Nduna told
Development Finance
that the report shows that “most governments fail to make and implement policies that are robust enough to curb inequality”. “Inequality is particularly prevalent in cases where the political classes and businesses thrive at the expense of poor women, youth and men. It plays into the marginalisation that does not enable poor people to actively and meaningfully participate in the economy, politics and life in society,” he said. Ndura said governments in countries such as Brazil that are struggling to close their wealth gap have a responsibility to work with the private sector in order to generate jobs and economic growth, which he said remains “a significant contribution to fighting inequality and poverty”. “The problem is that some governments only focus on this key contribution, and end up delegating social protection responsibilities to the private sector,” he added. China’s millionaire population has grown around 16 percent, the biggest rate of growth recorded in the survey. Cap Gemini estimates wealth in Asia-Pacific is due to increase by more than 100 percent to US$42.1 trillion by 2025, followed by the Middle East and Africa.
By Jack Aldane
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Photo: Choo Yut Shing