The boom in global wealth over the last 12 months has mostly lined the pockets of the already rich, particularly those rich holding fortunes worth at least $50 million.
Imagine lining up all the riches in the world and distributing them evenly to adults across the globe. Every adult on Earth would then end up with $63,100, according to the just-released 2018 Global Wealth Report from the Swiss bank Credit Suisse. That stat, the report notes, puts global adult average wealth at a record high.

But, of course, our world’s riches aren’t distributed evenly. The boom in global wealth over the last 12 months, Credit Suisse details, has lined the pockets of the already rich, particularly those rich holding fortunes worth at least $50 million. The ranks of these “ultra-high net worth” individuals have quadrupled since our new millennium began.

We’ll have lots more next week on the new global wealth numbers.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Any Senior Who Needs Home Care Should Get It
Not too many romantic comedies have a major character who goes bankrupt paying the health care costs of a loved one with dementia. But that's what happens in "Like Father," a Netflix film by Lauren Miller Rogen. Since her mother was diagnosed with the disease, Miller Rogen has worked to boost Alzheimer’s education and research. Now she's teamed up with her husband, the comedian Seth Rogen, to support a ballot initiative in Maine that would help less well-off families cope with the steep costs of home care for older Americans. To fund that help, the initiative calls for a payroll tax increase on the state’s top 3 percent of earners. co-editor Sarah Anderson has more.
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This Billionaire’s Hat Still Has Plenty More Rabbits
Hedge fund managers like Edward Lampert like to style themselves as magical financial wizards. Lampert’s best trick? He makes jobs disappear. Sears employed over 300,000 people a decade ago, not long after Lampert took the iconic retailer over. Last week, with over three-quarters of the workforce Lampert inherited already vanished, Sears filed for bankruptcy. Lampert has been heaping blame for the Sears collapse on worker pensions. He’s also insisting Sears can survive, announcing that “we believe the company has a future.” Translation: Sears still has assets Lampert can strip. He’s been doing that stripping all along, spinning off prized Sears properties like Lands’ End to companies that Lampert’s hedge fund has stakes in. That same hedge fund owns 40 percent of the Sears debt, ace leverage for making the bankruptcy pay off big — for Lampert. Notes Ron Olbrysh, the 77-year-old who heads the Sears retiree association: “Lampert will make out. There is no question about that.”
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Before His Time, a Tech Billionaire Passes On
Some of us draw the short straws. You could put Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, in this short-straw camp. Allen passed away last week at the unripe old age of just 65. In the United States today, a male who reaches 60 can expect to live another 24 years. Allen only had five. Short straw. So should we feel sorry about Allen’s personal fate? As his fellow human beings, of course. But we should also feel for ourselves and our own loved ones. The same deeply unequal economic order that let Paul Allen amass a fortune north of $20 billion has a profoundly negative health impact on every one of us. co-editor Sam Pizzigati, author of the just-published The Case for a Maximum Wage, has more.
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This week on 

Luísa Abbott Galvão. Inequality is a Feature and Driver of Bolsonaro's Rise in Brazil. The presidential candidate aligned himself with financial interests, attracting support from moderates willing to overlook his fascist nature to lean into his free-market agenda.

Alex Campbell, The IMF Attempts a Final Cut in Argentina. President Mauricio Macri hopes to satisfy financial markets and achieve what military governments of the 20th century could not, but a militant civil society stands in his way.

John Attanasio, Auctioning the American Dream. What’s behind skyrocketing American inequality? Campaign finance rulings may hold some answers.

Jake Johnson, 157 of World's 200 Richest Entities Are Corporations, Not Governments. On issue after issue, from inequality to climate change, these corporations are getting governments to do their bidding.

Elsewhere on the web 

Sam Pizzigati, The World Would Be a Better Place Without the Rich, Jacobin. In our daily rushes, we seldom stop to ponder how our lives could change without a super rich pressing down upon us.

Steven Pearlstein, It's time to abandon the cruelty of meritocracy, Guardian. Dissecting the myth of equal opportunity.  

Keith Phaenuf, In a state of great wealth, all the health care some can afford, Hartford Business. Life expectancy and more at ground zero of American economic inequality.

Madhusree Mukerjee, editor, The Science of Inequality, Scientific American. A special report on how our economic divides are impacting every aspect of our lives.

William Cohan, The Billionaire Who Led Sears Into Bankruptcy Court, New York Times. Financial engineers like Eddie Lampert are wreaking havoc on American companies.

Nick Cahill, Century-Old Direct Democracy in California Now a 'Pay-to-Play' System, Courthouse News Service. In a deeply unequal United States, a reform meant to empower average voters has become a tool for the rich.
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