Now they want wealth equality as well as income equality!

June 16th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The richest 10 per cent of New Zealanders are wealthier than the rest of the population combined, according to figures cited by Oxfam NZ.

Oxfam says data from the 2013 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook also shows that the top 1 per cent of Kiwis hold more wealth (25.1 per cent) than the bottom 70 per cent.

First of all, the data shows the top 10% have 48% of the wealth. And you know what, who cares? It’s is their wealth – not ours. What matters is whether the composition of the top 10% changes (social mobility), bot that the top 10% have more wealth. By definition the top 10% of anything always have more of whatever you measure.

But let us look at what countries have a greater share of wealth in the top 10%. We’re at 48%. Higher than us include:

  1. US 74%
  2. Switzerland 71%
  3. Denmark 69%
  4. Sweden 67%
  5. Indonesia 65%
  6. Norway 65%
  7. Austria 62%
  8. Germany 59%
  9. Cyprus 57%
  10. India 53%
  11. Portugal 53%
  12. Luxembourg 51%
  13. Canada 50%
  14. France 50%

So countries with higher “wealth ” include Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Even Canada and France.

But let’s do what Oxfam wants and make sure we have less wealth with the top 10%. What countries have managed this best:

  1. Slovakia 32%
  2. Japan 34%
  3. Slovenia 36%
  4. Greece 39%

That is the Oxfam vision for NZ – Slovakia and Greece!

Tags:

41 Responses to “Now they want wealth equality as well as income equality!”

  1. kowtow (7,951 comments) says:

    Oxfam is not a charity. It is a socialist activist agency.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2655752/MAX-HASTINGS-Yes-Oxfam-does-great-things-But-does-taxpayers-cash-pump-socialist-propaganda.html

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Odakyu-sen (527 comments) says:

    I recall that the big Japanese companies pay their top executives a lot, but nowhere near the range their US counterparts would get.

    Also, when a Japanese company screws up, the CEO will be under pressure to take a big pay cut.

    Read of it what you will, but Japan is a more egalitarian society in terms of wealth distribution than any of the Scandinavian ones. Perhaps this harks back to the Edo Period, when money-grubbing merchants were considered to be one of the lower social groups.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Psycho Milt (2,366 comments) says:

    …the data shows the top 10% have 48% of the wealth. And you know what, who cares? It’s is their wealth – not ours

    Of course. And also, that Piketty guy’s thesis about capitalism tending to concentrate wealth in fewer hands is, like, totally bogus….

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Julian (169 comments) says:

    Slovakia is almost unbelievably grim.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. pedrogarcia (52 comments) says:

    Don’t knock Slovakia! They do sheep cheese and plum brandy like no one else.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    Oxfam, Helen Clark’s favourite organisation, is another outfit promoting an outdated ideology.

    Do not donate a single dollar to the people running it. That will teach them what misery, socialism, and inequality are.

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. ShawnLH (4,434 comments) says:

    All societies concentrate wealth and power, no matter what ideology they claim to practice. This is as true of socialism as it is of capitalism, because we are dealing with human nature and human difference.

    If anti-poverty groups put more emphasis on raising up the poor instead of crying about “inequality” and trying to pull everyone down to the same level then they might have something constructive to say.

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Odakyu-sen (527 comments) says:

    “If anti-poverty groups put more emphasis on raising up the poor instead of crying about “inequality” and trying to pull everyone down to the same level then they might have something constructive to say.”

    Yes, but it’s so much easier and instantly gratifying to criticize than to constructively deal with the problem.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    And your constructive solution, Odakyu-sen?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 16 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. ross001 (142 comments) says:

    Meanwhile, Apple has allegedly avoided paying tax on US$74 billion of profits.

    Still, it’s their profits and who cares if they are rorting the system? I mean, so what if governments have to borrow millions?

    http://rt.com/business/apple-us-tax-avoidance-74bn-571/

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. gravedodger (1,528 comments) says:

    Of course we will never know the truth but it would be a good bet North Korea will have a depressing figure around the wealth controlled by cotton top and his whanau.

    Now that would be a job for Qxfam eh.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. RRM (9,665 comments) says:

    There are limits to how poor you can be, it would take a special talent to be in debt by more than about 80% of the value of a house… and most people aren’t even that far in the red.

    On the other hand, there’s no limit to how rich you can be. So a handful of guys like Graeme Hart who have MEGA cash probably skew the amount owned by the rich guys in some BS stat like this FAR above what you would see in any realistic cross section of society that you might actually rub shoulders with..??

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. hj (6,747 comments) says:

    “Creating wealth, security and financial freedom is often an investor’s ultimate goal. 90% of millionaires get there by investing in real-estate”
    New Zealand has strong population growth due to its progressive immigration policy and birth rates. Many parts of the country are experiencing housing shortages translating into strong tenant demand and price growth. This trend is expected to continue with recent population projections by the New Zealand Department of Statistics forecasting up to 64% growth over the next 17 years. Auckland city is predicted to almost double its population in the next 40 years. For property investors, this represents outstanding potential growth in demand and return on investment. New Zealand’s property prices are also relatively undervalued compared to its closest neighbour Australia.
    http://www.nzps.com/

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Nigel Kearney (918 comments) says:

    The proper value to compare is not wealth or income, but how much people spend on themselves.

    If I have high wealth or income but invest the money rather than spending it, the true beneficiary is the eventual recipient who does spend it on themselves. For example, I hire some staff and they use their salary to buy groceries. Wealth is just numbers until private consumption happens.

    If we had rich people buying private jets or building palaces while others were starving, there might be a problem. But we don’t.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Andrew McMillan (49 comments) says:

    DPF, I’m not sure you’re using the right data. The data the NZ Herald quote refers to is in table 6-5 of the report.

    Looking at the Wealth controlled by the Top 1% (ordered best to worst):

    1. Finland (13.5%)
    2. Japan (18.2%)
    3. France (19.9%)
    4. Italy (19.9%)
    5. Australia (20.4%)
    6. Netherlands (22.3%)
    7. United Kingdom (22.5%)
    8. Canada (24.7%)
    9. New Zealand (25.1%)
    10. Spain (25.1%)
    11. Ireland (27.1%)
    12. Germany (27.6%)
    13. Singapore (28%)
    14. Norway (28.1%)
    15. Denmark (29.6%)
    16. Sweden (29.9%)
    17. China, Taiwan (30.9%)
    18. China (33%)
    19. Czech Republic (33.9%)
    20. Switzerland (35.3%)
    21. United States of America (36.6%)
    22. Israel (39.3%)
    23. South Africa (41.4%)
    24. Chile (43.5%)
    25. Indonesia (47.9%)
    26. India (48.7%)
    27. Thailand (50.6%)

    And then the Wealth controlled by the Top 10% (ordered best to worst):

    1. Canada(44.9%)
    2. Sweden(49.1%)
    3. Denmark(49.8%)
    4. Finland(50.3%)
    5. New Zealand(51.8%)
    6. India(53.3%)
    7. Israel(54%)
    8. China, Taiwan(54.6%)
    9. Japan(57.4%)
    10. China(57.6%)
    11. Singapore(58.4%)
    12. Italy(60.8%)
    13. Switzerland(61.1%)
    14. Spain(61.7%)
    15. Australia(61.8%)
    16. Netherlands(63.2%)
    17. Czech Republic(65.9%)
    18. Norway(68.9%)
    19. South Africa(71.1%)
    20. Chile(71.5%)
    21. United Kingdom(72.2%)
    22. France(72.5%)
    23. Ireland(73.8%)
    24. United States of America(74.8%)
    25. Germany(75%)
    26. Indonesia(75.1%)
    27. Thailand(75.4%)

    So what does the data show? Well actually we’re really well positioned.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Bob (495 comments) says:

    There are points to be taken into consideration. A wealthy person or family might gain their wealth from businesses and assets which are of little value to them personally. They might own a factory the value of which is included in their wealth estimate but which they never see. Is a piece of equipment in that factory any use to them personally? Probably not but an employee using it gains income from it.

    Then a lot of that wealth did not exist until the owner started the business and built it up. Where was Bill Gates’ wealth before he started Microsoft? It didn’t exist. Then how many of the poor could improve their own lives but won’t make the effort. They prefer to moan about the wealth of the rich. What they really want is for the capable to work their insides out building a fortune then take it off them. That was the goal of communism and look where that got them.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Odakyu-sen (527 comments) says:

    “And your constructive solution, Odakyu-sen?”

    Let’s play a game, mikenmild. I’ll suggest one step towards a constructive solution, then you build on it by adding what you think should be the next step. (The rest of you out there, feel free to jump right in.)

    How does that sound? Constructive, no?

    I’ll begin.
    1. Ask the poor if they want to change their lifestyles.
    Okay, now your turn.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    They’ll say no.
    2. Ask the rich if they want to change their lifestyles.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. cha (3,856 comments) says:

    No no mike, it’s the poors fault.
    /

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. jem (48 comments) says:

    I heard bits of this on Newstalk this morning.
    The crazy thing is they are trying to say that because the top 10% are becoming richer…. that this OBVIOUSLY means that the bottom half are getting POORER!!!!

    Where does that logic come from?!!

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. chris (589 comments) says:

    @jem It’s because many people seem to think that the wealth of the world is finite. If you believe that, then it’s entirely logical to believe that if wealthy people are getting wealthier, then their slice of the pie is growing and therefore everyone else’s slice of the pie is getting smaller. The flaw in the premise is that the pie is not a fixed size. It can grow, and it can also shrink.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Nigel Kearney (918 comments) says:

    Here’s my constructive solution:

    Specify a reasonable (decreasing marginal) utility function based on real standard of living (not dollar value of income or wealth) and average the utility value across the whole population. Choose a longish time period, e.g. the last 50 years and look at the countries that have achieved the greatest increase in average utility during that time. Exclude any which are obviously special cases, e.g. a huge economy boost from finding oil or abolishing a socialist system. Then do what they did.

    Now I am being a bit tricky because I already know the answer. But first I would like to know if there is any objection to the basic method.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. OneTrack (2,818 comments) says:

    “The crazy thing is they are trying to say that because the top 10% are becoming richer…. that this OBVIOUSLY means that the bottom half are getting POORER!!!!

    Where does that logic come from?!!

    Lefty logic of envy.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. OneTrack (2,818 comments) says:

    chris – “… and it can also shrink.” – When Green/Labour get in ?

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Judith (8,455 comments) says:

    chris (521 comments) says:
    June 16th, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    The true wealth of the world is finite, however, we all exist in a time warp where we are borrowing from our grandchildren’s pockets.

    When we live in a country that has a huge debt, but can somehow pull a surplus out of the hat – then of course saying the worlds wealth is infinite seems sensible. But reality is a different matter. We, like most other countries live on credit – on money or wealth that isn’t real.

    If everyone was made to cash up tomorrow, I wonder just what effect that would have on the who is wealthy and who isn’t list?

    I suspect if we were all made to live without credit, we would see some very big changes in the names of our top 1%ers. Most of them only know how to operate and make money by using other peoples – if everyone had to only use what they physically had, do you think the list would change?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 14 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. dime (9,667 comments) says:

    how a winner thinks “fuck! being in the top 10% sounds sweet! ill aim for that”

    how a loser thinks “its not fair wah wah wah they should have to give me stuff”

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Odakyu-sen (527 comments) says:

    Well mikenmild,

    if the poor say “no,” we are faced with two possibilities: the wealthy also say “no,” or they say “yes”. (Let’s assume that the wealthy say “no” as well.

    This would be a very bad outcome for Team Oxfam, as it would suggest that no-one needs their services. After all, neither the poor nor the wealthy want to change.

    If this is the case, then as Step 3, I would ask the people who are neither poor nor wealthy if they want to change their lifestyles.

    Your turn.

    (Actually, I think you’re on to something. It could be that Oxfam is really targeting the middle ground for their funding as neither the poor nor the wealthy really care.)

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    I think they’re are going to say no as well. So, Step 4, what changes can we make that will impact the problem and are politically achievable?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Sideoiler (73 comments) says:

    Here’s my constructive solution:

    A flat tax system.
    First 20 thousand dollars tax free.
    Abolish the minimum wage.
    Scrap welfare, it’s not delivering value for money.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Chuck Bird (4,773 comments) says:

    Odakyu-sen, have you considered the possibility that the wealthy say yes they want to be wealthier?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Odakyu-sen (527 comments) says:

    mikenmild,

    If neither the poor, nor the middles nor the wealthy want to change their lifestyles, then nothing is going to change.

    You and I are all out of constructive ideas, and I declare Sideoiler the winner.

    Back to work for me (as I don’t want to be poor)…

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Some might have change inflicted on them by a government that they didn’t support. It’s happened before.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. tas (596 comments) says:

    Also, wealth != income. Two people can have the same income but vastly different amounts of wealth; it depends on how good they are at saving.

    I find these “X% of the population have Y% of the wealth” statistics misleading. They should measure income, not wealth.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. Liberty (252 comments) says:

    So 10% have all the wealth so what.
    Now what percentage of the work force have a connection directly or indirectly to the 10%.
    I suspect it will be very high.
    In reality if the wealthy sacked all there employees the economy would be stuffed.
    Little envious Marxist who whine about wealth should be thankful to the wealthy.
    As it is the wealthy that puts food on the table.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. Yoza (1,678 comments) says:

    Liberty (223 comments) says:
    June 16th, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Little envious Marxist who whine about wealth should be thankful to the wealthy.
    As it is the wealthy that puts food on the table.

    Similarly, the French should have been grateful to Marie Antoinette as she let everyone eat bread. People do not need to be Marxists to understand obscene inequity (Antoinette copped it over 20 years before Marx’s birth).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    I don’t agree DPF. The philosophical underpinnings of our progressive tax system are that those who have more should pay more. Since it has been traditionally very hard to accurately measure wealth (particularly for a tax agency), and easy to measure income (at least “taxable income”) we choose a progressive tax on income. The problem is that people with lots of wealth but low taxable income pay not very much tax, and people with lots of taxable income but not very much wealth get hit hard. In effect salary earners and those with high outgoings (i.e. have children) pay a lot of tax, those who are very wealthy may pay little tax at all.

    There are problems with shifting entirely to a wealth tax – obviously we don’t want to encourage people to just spend it all thereby avoiding tax. But there is some logic to a wealth tax to accompany the spending tax (GST) and the income tax. This would mean, for example, that people who own a lot of high value property but make little income from that property would need to pay some tax (actually, council rates already cover this a little, but in concept).

    I don’t agree with Piketty, I’m more in line with the economist in saying that the thing that is scarce will have increasing price and value – so in the upcoming world with plateauing population, reducing working age population and increasing capital, that the value of labour will increase and the value of capital decrease. But I don’t disagree with his assertion that we need a wealth tax.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. Dead Earnest (148 comments) says:

    So I suppose the best performer would be Cuba. Equality achieved by reducing everybody to poverty.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. Liberty (252 comments) says:

    Yoza there is no such thing a obscene inequity. Only envy

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. Left Right and Centre (2,883 comments) says:

    Um – isn’t the guts of the piece that Oxfam – rightly or wrongly or whatever – want to see changes to multinational tax avoidance ?

    There’s something very very stinky about that article – it’s just a dog’s breakfast leaving the reader trying to work out from each little fact what links the whole thing together exactly.

    *A stark wealth gap is deeply worrying*. Is it ? What makes them say that ? It’s worrying because . . .

    Then ‘wealth gap’ changes to ‘inequality’ from one paragraph to the next. Hmmm . . . two things that might be slightly different in meaning.

    It reads like an abstract with a lot of depth of detail missing to clarify the headline statements. What you can learn is that a charitable organisation called Oxfam are interested in issues beyond their core purpose of helping the ‘less fortunate’. And that’s about it.

    Maybe a good thread would be to ask what’s driving this style of abbreviated not terribly useful news article ?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. Yoza (1,678 comments) says:

    The ‘average wealth’ on page 19 of the report, to which DPF links, is worth a look.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. Crusader (295 comments) says:

    Yoza (1,431 comments) says:
    June 16th, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Liberty (223 comments) says:
    June 16th, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Little envious Marxist who whine about wealth should be thankful to the wealthy.
    As it is the wealthy that puts food on the table.

    Similarly, the French should have been grateful to Marie Antoinette as she let everyone eat bread. People do not need to be Marxists to understand obscene inequity (Antoinette copped it over 20 years before Marx’s birth).

    As anyone who has learned history knows, the immediate result of that revolution was the “reign of terror”. Great. All sorts of folks, not just “the rich” who lost their heads. Worked out real well for the French, eh?

    Or Russia. Lenin was a brutal murderer, but Stalin exceeded him. Aside from hundreds of thousands executed, millions were forced into starvation and slave labour. When Eastern Europe was invaded and forcefully converted to communism, the first against the wall were the local communists and anybody who had shown resistance against the Nazis. The Red Army were interested only in consolidating their own power, not “liberating” anyone.

    Or consider more recently the Khmer Rouge. Anyone who could read or wore glasses or spoke a foreign language was immediately executed in the killing fields. What a glorious equalisation that was. (What would the revolutionaries do today to those who could type posts to an internet forum?)

    Communism is unalloyed evil. As the history of the 20th Century is being written with more perspective and insight, the one grand theme that emerges is the utter failure of socialism or communism to deliver any benefit whatsoever to the people it claimed to act in favour of. Incredibly even a decade and a half into the 21st Century, a quarter of a century after the exposure of the hollow sham of communism, there are a few morons who believe in it still.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.