Americans Occupiers in Zuccotti Park made famous phrases like "the 1 percent" to protest wealth disparity within the U.S. -- but the rest of the world can throw that term right back at us. As CNN points out today, World Bank economist Branko Milanovic writes in his book The Haves and the Have-Nots that 29 million of the 60 million people who constitute the top 1 percent of income earners globally (or 48 percent of them) are American, based on 2005 data. It's a finding that grabbed our attention, since Occupy Wall Street has tried to make "the 1 percent" Enemy No. 1 in the U.S. Here's how he rounds out the rest of the top percentile in his book:
Next follow about 4 million Germans; about 3 million French, Italians, and Britons each; 2 million Canadians, Koreans, Japanese, and Brazilians each; around 1 million of Swiss, Spaniards, Australians, Dutch, Taiwanese, Chileans, and Singaporeans. There is nobody from Africa, China, India, or from East Europe or Russia (in statistically significant numbers, of course).
That's more or less the rest of the developed world. The sad truth of how destitute billions of people are is reflected in the fact that an individual only needs to earn $34,000 annually to make it in that top percentile. For comparison, the 1 percenters within the U.S. population make $506,000 or more every year, as The Wall Street Journal reported in October. Though the Occupiers certainly care about poverty across the world, statistics like this don't do a whole lot to deflate that whole "they're just dumb kids with MacBooks" argument against them.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.