UK's super-rich get even richer

Here come the oligarchs: Britain's super-rich see their wealth jump by 30% in the past year. It's a new record.


  1. Kudos to Corey! Go figure, I guess the sun never sets for the select few. ANy thoughts as to how this will impact the coming election. As the child of an anglophile (OK, gues I am a wee bit of one myself) I can’t help but be interested in Britain’s state of affairs.

  2. I wonder how they do it with all the problems with big government in Britain?

    You know… that’s what the libertarians and tea baggers keep telling everyone anyway.

    Big gub’mint can’t let people make teh money…


    1. xyglyx, I’m surprised it’s such a small increase. Over the same period the FTSE index grew around 23%, so anyone who held all their wealth in a FTSE tracker fund for all of last year would have done almost as well as the 1,000 richest people in the country.

  3. Since September 2005, the S&P is down 1.95%. So the headline could just as easily read:

    “There go the oligarchs! Super-rich see 1.95% decline in wealth!”

    The S&P 500 is up 39.98% since this time last year. So this article tells me that the super-rich did worse than the market did.

    But let’s not let that get in the way of the OMG LETS HATE RICH PEOPLE THEY MUST BE EVIL goodness.

    1. x, for your sake I hope you are an extremely rich person attempting to blindly defend your assets instead of a lower-middle-class tea bagger pulling a “one man-one cup” on himself.

        1. Why do people vote against their own interests?

          Because prey mostly fantasize about being predators. Mostly.

          1. Because prey mostly fantasize about being predators. Mostly.

            Exactly. We live in a system of falsely perceived meritocracy which is demonstratively untrue. Many people work just as hard if not harder than those in the upper class without making significant financial gains. As long as people believe that the rich have mostly become so deservedly, they are complicit to a system that might otherwise result in class struggle. The American Dream is a lie conceived to keep the proletariat (Hey, that’s my handle!) subservient to the bourgeoisie.

            &lt/psuedo-Marxist rant&gt

          2. Another widely held lie is that the super-rich got that way by risking their own money instead of, say, YOUR money.

  4. Nothing in the post, or in the comments to date, supports your characterizations regarding the observations regarding the fortunes of the super-rich.

    Now please get back to your very important work in the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

  5. Sorry, I shouldn’t have been snarky about that; it just furthers polarization and partisanship, and that hurts everybody.

    I see a lot of breathless headlines from the left right now about how rich people are on the verge of taking over. I suspect it’s because of the Bush tax cuts that expire at the end of 2010.

    That’s an important debate. But we shouldn’t tolerate sensationalistic or poorly-constructed claims from either side.

  6. At least in the UK they have a shameless police force and cameras every 2 feet to make sure the serfs don’t rise up against their billionaire overlords.

  7. it’s amazing how the rich get richer, and the poor stay poor! if the poor knew they had been lied to there would be a revolution by the morning. the entertainment industry keeps the poor watching Whatever Idol, dumbing them down so they don’t revolt.

  8. x, thanks for that phenomenal info! I had no idea Bush’s tax cuts applied in the UK!

    Or, and this is just a possibility, maybe you’re a complete knee-jerk idiot who didn’t bother to read either the article linked or even the headline of this post?

  9. I’m not sure this is news.

    Last year the press wrote “OMG the crisis has decimated the number of billionaires” and now it’s “OMG some of them have recovered since the market hit bottom in March 2009 and went up again, how can it be?”.

    Also, has financial success become a crime? Or just unfashionable?

    1. It’s not so much that the wealthy have recovered, it’s that the wealthy have recovered to the exclusion of the not-wealthy. I suppose that if you buy into the trickle-down theory, you expect that this is only natural, and even a good thing: the wealthy should recover first and then the money would trickle down. Personally, I don’t, and I’m willing to call it a travesty that the super-rich, whose only hardship was that they maybe had to stop spending thousands of dollars a week on fresh-cut flowers, are back to where they were, while the vast majority of people are still struggling to make ends meet.

    2. Neither. It remains, however, something that can ruin civilizations if it is restricted to a small group. The problem isn’t that the super-rich have gotten richer, but that nobody else has.

  10. @Cowicide

    I’m not “extremely rich”, I’m middle class living in Europe. I dislike hate of all kinds, especially if to me it seems like “blind” hate. I’m certainly not part of the Tea party crowd. And usually I like Cory’s posts, just not 100% of the time.

    I’ve now examined Crashproof’s links, which as far as I’m concerned tell a more interesting story. And it would be interesting to have more recent figures. Middle class seems to be dying. Everybody who lived a credit fueled lifestyle is in trouble.

    Being alarmed by a historical peak in inequality, as in Cowicide’s charts, seems a legit concern. Much better than blind hatred, which I prefer to leave to certain people that we see in the Tea Party Crowd.

    I can’t imagine that this extreme situation isn’t going to revert to the median. Stay tuned for the crash of 2010 or 2011?

  11. Hello from Brazil. Here people talk about a “Crisis in Capitalism”. I can hardly see such a thing.

  12. It’s time to rise up, these people are useless pigs who rape the planet and yet contribute absolutely nothing to society. The Marie Antoinette treatment is fitting.

  13. the collective fortunes of the top 1,000 on the list have risen by 30% in the past year – the biggest jump in the list’s 22-year history – to £333.5bn.

    Last year the top 1,000 saw their fortunes decrease by about £155bn – to £258bn

    So they used to have 258+155=413 billion, two years later they are down to 333.5 billion, so they’re still down 79.5 billion, with the relative value of the British Pound going down as well.

    Not that I’m weeping for their loss or anything, but the basic assertion of the piece is refuted by the figures in it. The Beeb’s descent into the pool of tabloid journalism is slow but steady.

  14. My wealth jumped 30% in the past year.

    That’s after declining 30% in the previous year. In both cases, it’s entirely on paper due to the market swings.

    I’m not convinced that returns over these past two years can be considered meaningful… except as an illustration of why investing should consider horizons much farther out than a single year.

  15. Can anybody help me with this camel?
    I just can’t seem to get it through the eye of this needle.

  16. Half the people on the planet make two US dollars a day or less. We’re sitting here typing happily away on computers.

    Now, should they rise up and eat us? Or should we tell them to go screw themselves because we earned these computers (and the rest of the first-world lifestyle by, probably, doing some typing, paperwork shuffling, perhaps some light lifting?

    I don’t quite have the gall to scream about hating the privileged rich while, on a global level, being one of them.

  17. @cicada
    I don’t see why you still would not the situtation to be fair on a greater scale. By accepting this unbalanced situation, you defend it.
    Also, the problem is the disapearance of the middle class:
    Super rich should be less richer, super poor less poorer.
    You’re too thin to be eaten up.

    1. Why don’t I want the situation to be fair on a broader scale? Because if we take wikipedia as true, global GDP/capita, even in purchasing power parity terms is less than US 10k a year. 10k to build all the infrastructure, do all the research, keep all the services running, and then whatever’s left over as discretionary spending.
      So if things are evenly spread across the globe, then that’s a hell of a lot less for me than I’ve got now. I _like_ my first world lifestyle, and so yes, I do defend the inequality of it. I’d rather be a bastard in a comfy house than a saint in a shack.

      But I’m not going to be a bastard in a comfy house and still whine about unfairness that’s still very much in my favor.

      1. Still I disagree. Economic egalitarianism is not possible nor advisable BUT some balance would not hurt.
        How can some people earn billions and other crave for food ?! Doesn’t it sound ridiculous to you ?

        Your calculation, sorry it does not prove anything.

        What is your 1st world lifestyle all about exactly ? GMO, fat ridden-food ? Mega corpo selling you crap you don’t need ? Oil Wars disguised as liberation acts ?

        Also, enjoy your comfy house now, maybe someday an unexpected market event will take it from you :-)

    1. almost all wars since 1700 so far have had ‘class’ as a central theme: the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, WWI… I assure you that every war from here on out will have ‘class equalization’ as a motivating factor to drum up the masses towards action, with the results just putting a new ruling class in place (or the old ruling class coming back, depending on the break).

      Your dramatization of such finality shows a deep misunderstanding of history and economics.

  18. Yeah that’s cool. No it’s hot! It isolates the harddrive. Dear Harddrive keep your heat and die! Very clever idea!


  19. The comments here are pretty sad and mostly reflect jealousy rather than concern for the well being of others.

    And then there’s the icing on the cake: Xenu (what an appropriate name!) advocating mass murder. Are we allowed to do that on this board now?

    1. The comments here are pretty sad and mostly reflect jealousy rather than concern for the well being of others.

      [citation needed]

      1. [citation needed]

        OK, here it goes:
        Comment #1 by bklynchris:

        I guess the sun never sets for the select few

        There’s no mention that the top 1000 this year are the exact same as the top 1000 from last year.

        Comment #7 by anon:

        serfs don’t rise up against their billionaire overlords

        Comment #7 by anon:

        rich get richer, and the poor stay poor!

        Living standards have been increasing worldwide for a while now, including in the developed and developing nations. Anon #36 makes the same mistake.

        super-rich have gotten richer, but that nobody else has

        See, e.g., these:
        Cowicide, comment #15:

        tea bagger pulling a “one man-one cup” on himself

        Apparently we’re also allowed to insult others on this board by implying that they are homosexual shit-eaters. And you’re agreeing with it in comment #19.

        1. The ‘mostly reflect jealousy’ part is not proven well by your citations, your links do not adress the actual point of the rich getting richer faster than the poor getting anywhere, and you made me google 1man1cup.
          Otherwise, great post.

  20. While i dislike the wealth gap (without disclosing on which shore i stand), the amazement at the 30% increase still baffles me. Why is it that most media report on bust and boom without relating the two? After the histrionics-driven crisis behind us, the recovering stock-value is reported as a gain in wealth. Yet stocks are not money: Money is the belief in it’s current worth, while stock are the belief in their future worth-gain. Which is why their trade should be taxed like crazy, like any other casino, just more so.

  21. The citations reflect a hostile attitude towards the rich. If it’s not jealousy, then what?

    And to the tangential point about the rich/poor divide: the links show that the poor are getting richer.

    Also, I’ve just noticed that we have MODERATOR Antinous jumping on the ad-hominem bandwagon on post #17.

    1. If it’s not jealousy, then what?

      People who do well through not-entirely-legit means often assume that all hostility towards them are jealousy, but sometimes it’s frustration at those means.

    2. Hostile attitude, for sure. Jealousy, not so much. Why would we have to covet our neighbours asses to dislike him?
      The link (to a blog doing its own tea-leaf reading on cobbled- together statistics, as we are here) proves, in it’s own words, mostly the absence of a VCR gap (for germany, there even are statistics proving a higher rate of console-ownership for the poor). Almost everyone in the developed world now has flushing toilets, a gadget that used to be for kings only. Dirt-poor no longer means grovelling in the dirt, yet the theme here is the widening gap. whether or not the poor are richer than in the 50s, or even 70s does not matter for this.
      Your last point about the Queen being the only person having ammassed her riches by theft – not so much. At the time it was totally legit for her to go about doing what she did, just as it is with the modern ologarchs. The point in question is whether the system allowing for such crass ammassment of wealth is just.

  22. Sure, the British Queen’s fortune was amassed through conquest and theft, but (admittedly I don’t know much about them) it doesn’t look like that applies to most of those on the list.

  23. The gap may have increased such that Warren Buffet may have enough money to live in a floating palace of pure rubidium, but why should I care?

    1. I do not see Mr.Buffet as the sickness, he is the symptom;
      At the same time money in these quanitities is raw power, and with that power invested in one person, democratic principles are automatically undermined, without even concious effort.

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