The income gap between the fifth of the world's people living in the richest countries and the fifth in the poorest doubled from 1960 to 1990, from 30:1 to 60:1. By 1998, it had jumped again, with the gap widening to 78:1. Poverty trends have worsened as well; there are 100 million more poor people in developing countries today than a decade ago. The assets of the 3 richest people on earth are greater than the combined GNP of the 48 least developed countries. Even in the US, where median earnings of workers more than doubled from 1947 and 1973, the past two decades have seen median earnings fall by almost 15% -- with the earnings for the poorest 20% of households falling the furthest behind. The only segment of the US population that has experienced large wealth gains since 1983 is the richest 20% of households. The net worth of the top 1% of US households now exceeds that of the bottom 90%.
Source: Tikkun, November/December 2001.