Over the top downunder

The World Wealth Report 2006 calculates how the share of “high net wealth individuals” (those with more than US$1 million in financial assets) has changed over recent years. They estimate that there were 134,000 HNWIs in Australia in 2004, and 146,000 in 2005.

This suggests that the filthy rich have grown faster in Australia than anywhere else in the developed world. Of the nine countries for which the report estimates trends, the growth rate in the super-duper rich was 4th highest in Australia – slower than in Brazil, India and Russia, but faster than in the US, UK or China.

New Economist also comments on the report.

Still, it’s not easy being rich, what with all those different villas to maintain, and the kids off overseas spending your hard earned wealth:

According to the report, 28 per cent of millionaires have residences in more than one country. One in five has children who live abroad.“The looming challenge is to ensure smooth and effective transfer of wealth from one generation to another,” said Eva Castillo, head of Merrill Lynch Global Private Client for the UK & Europe.

Or maybe they could just give the money to people who really need it?

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9 Responses to Over the top downunder

  1. Ian Holsman says:

    are there any stats on the not-so-super rich or even dirt-poor growth rates?

    are we seeing the rate of divergence growing in all areas,

    are the super-rich pulling away from the pack leaving the rest where they are?

  2. Sacha says:

    Andrew, I know you’re interested in inequality. To me, I’m more interested in each person having enough to live rather than inequality as such – why are you interested in inequality? Is it connected to the idea that people are happier/healthier and societies more cohesive if there is less inequality?

  3. Russell Hamilton says:

    Sacha — wouldn’t inequality, say in wealth, probably mean inequality in power and influence. How would that square with our democratic instincts ?

  4. Sacha says:

    Probably – but I see inequalities in power and influence as less important.

    Just to give some background – I used to think that less inequality of wealth was positive and a good goal, but more recently I’ve thought that a more important goal is that everyone has sufficient resources to live on. At the moment, I’d prefer this to less inequality in wealth.

    Now, greater inequality in wealth may have certain outcomes as you mention, and this might persuade me to think differently, but at the moment I think that it is more important that everyone has sufficient live on. This is more important than power and influence being unequally distributed.

  5. Andrew Leigh says:

    Sacha, if you believe in the diminishing marginal utility of income (ie. $1 brings more happiness to a pauper than a millionaire), then inequality should enter into any reasonable social welfare function.

  6. SJ says:

    Andrew, until the recent pullback, the share markets in Australia, Brazil, Russia and China were the big performers. It shouldn’t be a surprise that more people in those countries were tipped into a higher wealth bracket than elsewhere.

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