It’s a widely known fact that inequality all around the world is bad. But an even bigger concern should be that numbers are rapidly getting worse and worse: In 2010, the 388 richest people in the world owned the same wealth as the poorest 50%. In 2016, the 8 (!) richest people owned the same wealth as the poorest 50%. Inequality increases because money makes money faster than labor makes money.
This means that most people are caught in a vicious cycle where they work hard every day to cover their basic needs for food and shelter but they don’t have the possibility to evolve beyond their current condition or even give their children the chance for a better life. Meanwhile, the rich make more and more money on behalf of what they already own. Left unchecked, this growing inequality threatens to pull our societies apart and to produce devastating consequences.
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the top 10 developed countries with highest income inequality are:
1. Chile (0.465)
2. Mexico (0.459)
3. United States (0.394)
4. Turkey (0.393)
5. Israel (0.365)
6. Estonia (0.361)
7. United Kingdom (0.358)
8. Lithuania (0.353)
9. Latvia (0.352)
10. Spain (0.346)
The number in the brackets is the Gini coefficient of each country – a measurement of the income distribution within that country which aims to show the gap between the rich and the poor. The number ranges from 0 to 1, with 0 representing perfect equality (everyone has the same income) and 1 representing perfect inequality (one person earns the entire country’s income and everyone else has nothing.) A higher Gini coefficient means greater inequality.
Wealth inequality data shows an even bigger gap between the rich and the poor. Wealth includes not just salary, but also property and investments held by a family. Here’s the list of the countries with the highest wealth inequality, according to Allianz’s Global Wealth Report:
1. United States
The report found the U.S. to be the most unequal country when it comes to wealth distribution. This is a country where the 4 wealthiest households own as much as the bottom 40% of households or 128 million people! And according to Oxfam, the future will bring more inequality as 500 Americans will hand over $2.1 trillion to their heirs in the next 20 years – a sum larger than the GDP of India, a country of 1.3 billion people.
As research has increasingly shown, more unequal societies suffer from poorer physical and mental health, lower life expectancy, higher rates of violent crime, poorer educational outcomes, and lower levels of trust. Only by making a change can this downwards spiral be stopped. WowApp proposes a solution to this issue by giving back to people what’s rightfully theirs. In Wowism, 70-80% of the economic gain generated by the community members is shared with them. Then, each member of the community has the choice to use the gain for himself or donate it to charity.