Piketty's inherited-wealth dystopia: private capital millionaires multiply

Thomas Piketty's much-discussed economics bestseller Capital in the Twenty First Century prophesies a future where inherited wealth dominates the world, because the rate of return on capital outstrips the rate of growth in the economy, meaning the money your ancestors earned will always outstrip what you could earn. A new Boston Consulting Group report confirms Piketty's hypothesis, concluding that the share of wealth due to capital increased by 14% last year — 31% in Asia-Pacific, mostly due to gains in the stock markets. Millionaire households all over the world are also up.

According to the report, private wealth in:

* North America rose by 15.6% to $50.3tn

* Western Europe, which includes UK, Germany and France, rose by 5.2% to $37.9tn

* Eastern Europe, which includes Russia, Poland and Czech Republic, jumped by 17.2% to $2.7tn

* Latin America rose by 11.1% to $3.9tn

* Middle East region increased by 11.6% to reach $5.2tn

Global private wealth hits $152tn

(Image: Bull Market, Nathaniel Zumbach, CC-BY)