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04 September 2017 Posted by 


Just where is all the money going?
OVER recent months I have increasingly had conversations with people either commenting on the absence of funds in the market generally.
Or concerned at the increasing pressure being placed on everyone to “get cash in”.  
It remains a constant issue and with the preponderance of debt funders and other similar finance providers there remains a strong group seeking to assist those in constant need.
This situation has been further reinforced by those that actively work in the charitable not for profit arena who have indicated that there is a steady increase in the number of people seeking assistance for support to simply maintain everyday living requirements.  
Additionally, they have regrettably noticed an overall decrease in the amount of funds they receive from donors.  The desire and number supporting does grow, but yet the overall total value of collections declines. 
The issue has pondered me and recently, whilst preparing a presentation for one of our projects, I began to reflect on some very old information that I felt may better assist me in conveying my message to my audience. 
You see, a long while ago, around 1980, whilst studying economics at university, one of my lecturers informed us that ninety (90) percent of the world’s wealth was controlled by merely ten (10) percent of the world’s population, which was at the time around 4.4 billion. 
Apparently, if you want it precisely it was 4,453,831,714. A few years later society, it was claimed, had moved forward to the point that the control over the same 90 percent of wealth was now being exercised by only five (5) percent of the world’s population.  
The other scary part of the story was the predictions were that should all the worlds’ wealth be recalled and evenly distributed to everyone then it would take between 2 to 5 years in the first instance above to return to that same 90/10 distribution.  
In the later presentation, the period had condensed to between 2 to 3 years to achieve the same result, i.e. 90/5.
For whatever reason, there was a comfortable acceptance of both the numbers and the trend, and I essentially felt that this was because the way the information was portrayed was along the lines that the world had essentially ‘always been like this, it’s just that the value is improving’.  
The fact of the matter appeared to be that this is what it’s like and essentially, it’s basically going to stay the same.
So, coming back to my presentation, I thought I would see how these concepts sat in today’s world.  
Fortunately, there have been many people that have had similar thoughts! Information relating to the distribution of wealth has become a hot topic as everyone keeps focusing on what they have stashed away for their retirement.  
One of the better more informative articles appeared in Fortune Magazine and it picks up the gambit in 2010 with the statement that ‘it took the wealth of the top 43 people to equal the wealth of the bottom 50 percent of the world’s population’.   
This is an amazing leap forward from the position the world was in in the 1980s.
Moving forward however, the situation just keeps chugging along.  Now that we have reached 2017, now a mere 7 years further on, it is 8 people alone, with a shared wealth of $426.2 billion, which can match the bottom 51 percent of the world’s population.  
The 8 people named in this, and other, articles are, in descending order: - Bill Gates – America’s Microsoft, Amancio Ortega – Spain’s Zara Fashions, Warren Buffett – American Investor, Carlos Slim Helu – Mexico’s Grupo Carso, Jeff Bezos – America’s Amazon, Mark Zuckerburg – America’s Facebook, Larry Ellison – America’s Oracle, and Michael Bloomberg – America’s Bloomberg LP. 
In simple terms, with a world population of around 7.4 billion or more precisely 7,432,663,275 the average share of financial wealth between the in 2017 groups looks like this: -
GROUP                                         SHARE
Top 8 $53.3 Billion per person
Bottom 51 % - (3.79B people)     $112.45 per person
Somehow when you look at it that way and you consider the speed with which it is being accumulated by the wealthy, then it really raises some potentially difficult questions on the way forward.  
In between these groups is everyone else, which according to Forbes incudes a further 1,932 billionaires with a total worth of $7.2 trillion, which represents an average of $3.7 billion each.  With cheap money available across the world many continue to chase and accumulate.
It is interesting to see that society moves continually to drive people into increase levels of debt, feeding a system that continually moves more and more money into a rapidly diminishing group.  
It’s worth considering how society now operates, as students are now trained this way from the start with our youth leaving universities and other colleges, with or without a degree, but either way with a hefty student loan, many of which will never be repaid.  
At the other end of the scale even the future of the Australian Bankruptcy system is being driven in this manner as well with the term of someone’s bankruptcy still poised to be reduced to 12 months down from the current period of 3 years.  
A duration that has been around since the days of Ancient Rome, but it will enable people to be innovative and quickly get out again and have another go... well, maybe me thinks.
I’m not sure what the answer is; but something appears to be really suggesting that the system we have at present is unlikely to work forever.  Let’s hope the solution comes from within the maintenance system, rather than the rebuild!  
Schon Condon is principal at The Condon Group. www.thecondongroup.com.au


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