In 2012, the Gross World Product, the combined production of the world, was $84.97 trillion, and the population exceeded seven billion on 12 March 2012. So the income of the world, per head, was $12,138, by purchasing power.
From Cap Gemini: The investable wealth of the world’s High Net Worth Individuals reached $46.2 trillion in 2012, that is 11.97 million people, averaging $3.9m each. Were that divided equally among the world’s population, it would be $6,600 each. “Investable” wealth omits the value of the main residence. Bain and Co estimated world capital in 2010 at $600 trillion. They expect this figure to grow by 50% in the decade to 2020. The 2010 figure is $85,714 per head.
Global Issues: over three billion people live on less than $2.50 a day.
The Gini coefficient measures the inequality among values in a set, for example levels of wealth. A Gini of zero indicates perfect equality, a Gini of one indicates one person owns all the wealth. The Gini can be greater than one if everyone else owes the plutocrat money.
That $12,000 income is per head, including children, the elderly, and others not working.
So if we sorted the problems of dividing income and giving incentives to work, everyone could live in a state of wealth undreamed of a century ago. Greater income equality produces greater happiness.
I have been reading about The Culture, again. A level 4 civilisation in one of the books- faster than light travel, colonies in other star systems- has still got rich people, and the richest is always unethical and often criminal. It is not really a spoiler that he gets his, violently, in the end- Banks strives for happy endings. There is a mechanised thing which can build starships, by itself, and he owns it. There is no particular need for humanity to reach a certain level of capital, and then become egalitarian.
Soon there will be trillionaires.
This has sat as a draft for more than six months, because it is essentially a whine about part of an apparently dreadful situation.
What of Creative Destruction? The world gets better, and the Luddites were wrong. Well. In the previous state of technology, a weaver was self-employed, and could make a living, and the looms the Luddites broke allowed anyone to work them, driving down the wages, and driving all the profit to the mill-owners. Now, there are too many people, and any job may be out-sourced or mechanised, driving down the wages and driving all the profit to the wealthiest. Except that there are no machines I can go out and break with a hammer.
Another unused draft from about the same time consists only of two links about happiness. The second is to a page which seems no longer available, but the site has a wonderful URL. At least I can put in a nice picture.