The global debt? Give the big boys the bill

Too Much, an online weekly publication of the Institute for Policy Studies, says:

Sober central bankers the world over — and their political pals — have been hyperventilating the last few months about the debts of the world’s most notorious deadbeat nations.

Over in Old Europe, we have Greece with a standing debt of some $485 billion. Over here in the New World, meanwhile, the United States owes some $9.4 trillion to the outside investing public.

“Crushing” debts like these, the debt hawks squawk, have only one remedy. The average people of deadbeat nations must swallow hard and accept austerity. They must shut down their libraries and overcrowd their classrooms — and start selling off their public assets as well. Anybody want to buy the Parthenon?

Amid all this debt hysteria, we might want to slow down a bit, unless we relish the possibility of having Donald Trump ending up the owner of the Acropolis. We need a little perspective, the sort we can get from the 15th annual World Wealth Report, a joint effort from Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and Capgemini, a Paris-based corporate and financial consultancy.

This latest World Wealth Report, released just last week, calculates — among other fascinating numbers — the total investible wealth of everyone in the world who now has at least $30 million available to invest.

Remember, we’re not talking total wealth here, only investible assets. The Capgemini-Merrill Lynch tallies don’t include the residences wealthy people call home, their diamonds, their luxury cars and yachts, or any other personal luxury goods and collectibles that sit in wealthy households.

The world now hosts, reckon Capgemini and Merrill Lynch, 103,000 individuals with $30 million or more sloshing in their investment accounts. Together, these “ultra-high net worth individuals” hold $15 trillion in investible wealth.

Cogitate on that total a moment. If the world’s ultra-high net worth folks had a hankering, they could totally pay off the Greek and U.S. debts, and still have almost $50 million each, on average, left to invest, on top of their mansions, Bentleys, and jewels. And the Greeks would get to keep the Acropolis!

The folks over at Capgemini and Merrill Lynch would never, of course, want to suggest for even a moment that the world’s “ultra-highs” — about 40 percent of whom, incidentally, live in the United States — either ought to have this hankering or be taxed into it. They’ve put together this World Wealth Report to impress the wealthy into becoming their clients, not to scare them.

But the rest of us remain free to suggest whatever we want — after we thank Capgemini and Merrill for providing all this wonderfully suggestive inspiration.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

3 thoughts on “The global debt? Give the big boys the bill

  1. Colm O' Toole

    These “ultra highs” are nothing more than robber barons. Obviously a system where these billionaires continue avoiding the consequences of their actions while ordinary workers are forced to swallow austerity is a morally bankrupt system.

    Any world leader who doesn’t fight these oligarchs should be executed for economic treason.

  2. Lysander

    It is needlessly complicated. All Greece has to do is simply announce that it will not pay it’s debt. Ever. Same with every other country in serious debt.

    It worked for Iceland, Argentina, and a number of others. They were even able to borrow again at reasonable rates after that.

  3. NotBob

    I would agree with Lysander – I think a world wide default day would be great. All bond holders would just have to accept that those pieces of paper just are not worth the paper they are printed on! The banksters and politicos make it sounds like the end of the world if Greece defaults. Its only the end of the world for banks who are overly leveraged, let the banks eat cake!

Comments are closed.