Science

The very rich have seen their fortunes grow, report says

meIn fifty years, the object of fascination has gone from the fictional man worth 3 billion to the very real man worth almost a hundred times as much. Elon Musk, the world’s first fortune, is symbolic of the deepening inequalities detailed in a report. According to the 2022 Global Inequality Report, released Tuesday, December 7, the very rich have seen their fortunes grow thanks to essentially financial assets in recent years.

This 228-page report advocates the establishment of progressive wealth taxation on a global scale, as well as an international financial registry to act against tax evasion. For a small breed, this heritage is stratospheric: the US magazine Forbes ranking, which assesses what the richest have in real time, shows that the top ten have more than $ 100 billion each. At the top, the head of Tesla, with 266,000 million dollars.

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An increasingly polarized world

All Americans except the French head of luxury group LVMH Bernard Arnault, the ultra-rich have amassed their 12-figure fortune primarily in technology thanks to a surge in share prices. Jeff Bezos, in second place, owns 9.9% of Amazon and Mark Zuckerberg, 12.3% of Facebook. “After more than eighteen months of Covid-19, the world is even more polarized” in terms of wealth inequality, stresses Lucas Chancel, co-director of the World Inequality Laboratory at the Paris School of Economics, with the Media Agency of France. And to add: “While the inheritance of the billionaires has taken more than 3.6 trillion euros, 100 million more people have joined the ranks of extreme poverty. It should be noted that, in the last twenty-five years, extreme poverty has decreased.

According to the report, the 52 richest people have seen the value of their wealth grow by 9.2% per year for 25 years, far more than the less gifted categories. The club with the richest 1%, that is, people with more than 1.3 million dollars in assets, has, for its part, captured more than a third of the accumulated fortune on the planet since 1995. “Given the extremely high concentration of wealth, modest and progressive taxation can generate significant revenues for governments ”, whose debt soared in the face of the crisis and pandemic of 2007-2008.

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Taxation of expatriate assets

Where the wealth tax is now too focused on land, the report advocates a modernization and progressivity of this tax. All forms of assets must be considered, especially financial assets, which account for the bulk of modern fortunes. The report assesses a tax hypothesis in various bands, from $ 1 million and progressive to a high band that exceeds $ 100 billion in wealth.

On tax evasion, the report advocates the creation of an international financial register, for example, under the auspices of the OECD or the UN, which would allow tax and regulatory authorities to verify whether taxpayers correctly declare their assets and capital income. regardless of what offshore financial institutions want to communicate with. At the same time, the Global Inequality Report calls for maintaining a wealth tax for expatriates and imposing a multi-year “exit tax” on taxpayers who decide to move for tax reasons. The more automatic exchanges of information now between tax jurisdictions and digital progress will allow a more precise application of the rules.

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