The rise of the Gigarich

The rise of the Gigarich

A high number of publications are appearing about the increasingly uneven wealth distribution throughout the world. As the gap between rich and poor countries is closing down, the abyss between richest and poorest of a given nation is sinking in. Where is this phenomenon leading us? At what point do we consider it wrong?

The XXth century has seen all kinds of shifts in figures. Microscopic identification, light years distances, megabytes information exchange, nano-technologies… we have explored all kinds of extremes and made it part of our everyday lives. They have opened unexpected fields of knowledge, science and new lifestyles. Figures of wealth that we produce in the GNPs have also reached these stratospheric layers, stretching our abstraction skills. Which is good news: overall we have never been so well off. Decrease of famine, decrease of mortality through war or disease, access to utilities all have improved both in absolute figures and in proportion. Obviously, there’s still a very long way to go to make basic needs such as housing, education, health services accessible to everyone. Meanwhile, another phenomenon has crept its way into our society, going unnoticed: extreme wealth.

As terrifying and out of proportion as prehistoric lizards, some people are “Gigarich”. It takes only the 88 richest families of the world to reach the wealth of the poorest half of the world, meaning that 3,5 billion people weigh as much as just as the (happy?) few Gigarich. A crowd that neither the Pope nor David Guetta can bring together. To see all these people together, you would have to take space shuttle and watch the earth from a distance. The unevenness, literally, cannot get worse.

A couple of decades ago, we sighed over the injustice of being born in parts of the world subject to dictatorship, civil wars, droughts or other tsunamis. The recent novelty is that these drastic variations are also observed inside one country’s population. In the United Kingdom for instance, the 5 richest families have as much wealth than the 12 million poorest- a quarter of the country. While old Europe and the US are slowing down their growth or even decreasing, and emerging countries are running fast to compete, all nations witness the same movement: the rich are getting richer, in comparison with the average population. Today the concern is about people born and bred under the same laws, people from the same moral circle. And that makes it bothering.

The fact that some figures have been published and are hitting the headlines throughout the world, says something about the turning point we have reached: the public opinion in its majority, finds it wrong. A system of meritocracy, bringing its inevitable and at times welcomed load of inequality was acceptable until now. It made sense if we were all given the same chances to start with: given some amount of skills and energy, one could presumably master his destiny and climb the social ladder. Entrepreneurship, has fuelled great leaps of progress, creative businesses have added value, which have streamed for the many. What kind of leap would it take nowadays to go from poor of the poorest to one of the richest person in the world? How many generations would it take? One person, one vote, is the basis of democratic political system as we cherish it. But the Gigarich count for millions of the economic voices of the poorest: their buying choices make everything they want unaffordable to others. As much as poverty is appalling, extreme wealth is bringing disgust.

I look forward to the day we’ll consider Gigarich as dinosaurs: some wild creature of the past.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>