According to the latest Forbes list of the world’s richest, more and more non-Westerners are making it into the most elite bracket: the billionaires.
For years, the U.S., Germany and Japan were the clear leaders in the ability of individuals to amass wealth, but more recently, nations like Brazil, Russia, India and China are dominating the top 10.
The trend suggests a decrease in the dominance of western nations, but, according to John Cavanagh, the director of the Institute for Policy Studies, it also demonstrates an expanding inequality around the world.
“Thirty years ago you had a dynamic where most markets were largely national – workers could bargain with companies and when productivity created more profit, workers would get a share of it,” Cavanagh says. “Now in a global economy, corporations say to workers in the U.S. or Mexico or China, ‘you take a cut in wages or we will go elsewhere.'”