Let us start with Fusion:
The result is that if you use Oxfam’s methodology, my niece, with 50 cents in pocket money, has more wealth than the bottom 40% of the world’s population combined. As do I, and as do you, most likely, assuming your net worth is positive. You don’t need to find eight super-wealthy billionaires to arrive at a shocking wealth statistic; you can take just about anybody.
Obviously the niece must have her 50 cents taken off her and redistributed.
Consider this: Would you rather have $75,000 in the bank and no debt and no degree, or $75,000 in the bank and $75,000 in student loans and a four-year college degree? As far as the Oxfam methodology is concerned, the difference is enormous: The person with $75,000 and no debt is in the top 10% of the world’s wealth distribution, while the person with the college degree is in the bottom 10%. And yet there’s a right answer to the question: You’re much better off with $75,000 in debt and a college degree than you are with no debt at all.
Oxfam would count a 24 year old Harvard medical graduate as being in the bottom 10% with negative net wealth. However the intangible asset of his or her degree will allow them to earn millions of dollars.
Stats Chat comments:
These are graduates from the Keck School of Medicine, at the University of Southern California, who owe an average of over US$200,000 in student loans. By the Credit Suisse definition of wealth inequality they have less wealth than people living in poorly-maintained state housing in south Auckland. They have less wealth than immigrant agricultural workers in southern California. They have less wealth than subsistence farmers in Chad.
So a subsistence farmer in Chad has more wealth by this definition.
Danyl McL also works out a flaw:
Won’t the country’s poorest people be heavily indebted, and basically anyone with positive equity own more than all of them put together?
Eric Crampton also has a blog on the Oxfam nonsense.