It is official, the richest one per cent now owns half of all the wealth in the world, and unfortunately it also looks as though the global middle class is shrinking as this happens, according to a new study.

Credit Suisse recently released its annual report on global wealth, and according to the CBC, this marks the first time that the world’s richest group has amassed enough wealth to cross that line.

The report also found that from 2008 on wealth gains have been shifting away from the middle class in favour of those at higher wealth levels. This has created a decline in the middle class wealth in ‘every region since 2001 and a decline in all regions except for China for the entire 2000 – 2015 period.’

Also troubling is that 3.4 billion adults – 71 per cent of the world’s population — find themselves on the bottom tier and are worth less than $10,000 US.

As the wealthiest group are growing, middle class families around the world are shrinking and this may have a correlation to the fact that there is overall less union membership than there was in the past.

There are not as many workers with a union to back them and fight for their equality and wages.

Studies have shown that as unions are thriving, so does the middle-class.

Unions allow members to have better wages, good benefits and pensions – allowing for upward mobility and strength in this section of earners.

This was found in a study earlier this year by economist Hugh Mackenzie and statistician Richard Shillington. They said a union card is ‘a ticket into middle-class stability.’

“Workers represented by a union tend to move a notch or two up the income ladder,” said Mackenzie. “They’re not only better positioned to weather economic storms, they’re more likely to experience the Canadian middle-class dream of upward income mobility.”

With this more recent study, it seems we need to be looking at how we can shift the distribution of our wealth so that the global middle class won’t be on a downward slope, while the wealthiest are on an incline.

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