Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Our society doesn't know how to "Create Wealth"...

I started reading a wonderful book, Planet India: The Turbulent Rise of the Largest Democracy and the Future of Our World by Mira Kamdar, 2008.

"Our biggest challenge is the challenge nobody has solved in the world - how to grow equity" - Mukesh Ambani, p.5

"Can liberal democracies forge a global market economy that is environmentally sustainable and reduces inequality?" - Mira Kamdar.

"The United States has failed to achieve this. While it has proven it's capacity to generate vast wealth, the so-called Washington consensus has achieved corporate interests over the welfare of average citizens and small businesses, exacerbated gaps between the affluent and the poor, and operated with stunning disregard for the environment. America's prosperity is dependent on overconsumption of the world's resources - with just 6 percent of the world's population, the United States consumes 30 percent of the earth's resources." - Mira Kamdar.

Quotes like this last one usually neglect to mention that the US's $14.5 trillion GDP [Financial Forecast Center] is roughly 29% of the $50 trillion world GDP [CIA Factbook], so consuming 30% of the resources matches our GDP productivity. Sometimes I'm really annoyed at how people play fast & loose with statistics to scare the public.

The book "toots India's horn" a little too often for my comfort. We can all tell that India's going through massive growth. And Mira provides lots of interesting stories from the real India of today.

Global wealth is currently $98 trillion [WSJ 2008], which is
(1) only 2 years worth of global production ($50 trillion - $66 trillion PPP [CIA Factbook])
(2) just $16,000/person.
(3) probably less than the global damage to natural wealth (fishes, animals, plants, oil, etc...)

If you have $2,200 in assets, you are in the richest half of the world's population. [Globe & Mail 2006]

Let's say we redistributed the wealth of the High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) with more than US $1 million (not counting their primary residence). Gap Gemini estimates HNWI wealth at $37.2 trillion [Cap Gemini 2007], which would give everyone an additional $6,000. Not much!

Bottom line, our society has not yet figured out how to CREATE wealth.

It's Mukesh Ambani's unsolved challenge of "how to create equity"!

Link to the text of Planet India p.5 in Google Books

[Financial Forecast Center] US GDP Forecast for Feb 2008 - Jul 2008
[WSJ 2008] "Global Wealth Gap Widens", Wall Street Journal, 10/3/07
[CIA Factbook] CIA The World Factbook
[Globe & Mail 2006] "The rich really do own the world", Estanislao Oziewicz, Globe & Mail, 12/6/06
[Cap Gemini 2007] Cap Gemini World Wealth Report 2007

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