Record-breaking number of billionaires signals a second "Gilded Age" with inequality hitting 1905 levels

The total wealth controlled by the world's billionaires has reached $6,000,000,000,000, up nearly 20% from last year. There are now 1,542 dollar-denominated billionaires on earth.

The current levels of inequality have not been seen since 1905. Billionaires' fortunes are growing at 17%/year on average, double than the stock market average.

Billionaires are apparently getting concerned about guillotines and are trying to forestall them by endowing galleries "to share their collections with the public."

But they're not advocating for higher taxes, an end to offshore tax-havens, or an increase in estate taxes to end the cycle of hereditary privilege.

"The billionaire population is concerned about [inequality] and that may be why we are seeing this acceleration of publicly displaying art collections or partnering with public institutions so more of the public can enjoy what they have," said John Matthews, UBS head of private wealth management. "I think it's a big part of investment in sports franchises – it's a way for them to say 'I made all this money and I did it in Cleveland, Ohio, I've got to give back to my community and one way I'm going to do that is to make sure the stadium is great'."

The report found that 140 of the world's top sports teams are owned by just 109 billionaires, with two-thirds of NBA and NFL teams owned by billionaires. In the UK, nine of the 20 Premier League teams have billionaire owners, including Roman Abramovich at Chelsea, and Sheikh Mansour at Manchester City.

"There is an acceleration of these transactions as we speak, with major buyers coming from China," Stadler said.

World's witnessing a new Gilded Age as billionaires' wealth swells to $6tn
[Rupert Neate/The Guardian]

(via Late Stage Capitalism)