A Gold Ferrari sits outside Chanel on Sloane Street in London.

The financial crisis, the housing crisis and the climate crisis are all directly linked to the monopolisation of resources by the super-rich.

The Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle last month unexpectedly set the tone of the general election campaign when he appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live and declared that billionaires should not exist. With this pronouncement, Russell-Moyle brought the debate about billionaire wealth across the Atlantic from the US, where a tweet by an adviser to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — “every billionaire is a policy failure” — went viral earlier this year.

It is difficult to comprehend the sheer scale of UK wealth inequality, which is twice as high as income inequality. New research published today by the Equality Trust has shown that the five richest families in the UK control as much wealth as the poorest 13 million people and that the number of billionaires has almost doubled over the last decade. The top 1 per cent of the population now owns the same wealth as the bottom 80 per cent of the population.

What do these statistics actually mean? The five richest families have £39.4bn of wealth between them. This is an unimaginably large sum of money. It would take you 12 days to count to one million, but 32 years to count to one billion. You would have to spend the average annual salary in the UK — £29,000 — every day for a century to exhaust the wealth of a billionaire.

Those on the right will respond to these statistics by claiming that the UK’s billionaires have earned their wealth and that they have done so by contributing to the economy, creating jobs and boosting investment. The savvy businessman, or perhaps today the tech entrepreneur, is the image most likely to …read more

Source:: New Statesman


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