Why Has Global Wealth Grown So Quickly?

While it has been postulated for long that wealth and aggregate income in the economy go hand in hand, developments in the last several decades point to a different phenomenon as the wealth to GDP ratio has been rising rapidly, reaching 6.1 times the GDP currently.

In a recent column for the Conversable Economist, Timothy Taylor writes on the issue, drawing insights from a 2021 McKinsey Global Institute report.

“…At the level of the global economy, the historical link between the growth of wealth, or net worth, and the value of economic flows such as GDP no longer holds. Economic growth has been sluggish over the past two decades in advanced economies, but net worth, which long tracked GDP growth, has soared in relation to it. This divergence has emerged as asset prices rose sharply—and are now almost 50 percent higher than the long-run average relative to income. The increase was not a result of 21st-century trends such as the increasing digitization of the economy. Rather, in an economy increasingly propelled by intangible assets, a glut of savings has struggled to find investments offering sufficient economic returns and lasting value to investors. These (ex-ante) savings have instead found their way into a traditional asset class, real estate, or into corporate share buybacks, driving up asset prices.”

Source: McKinsey Global Institute. (2021). The rise and rise of the global balance sheet: How productively are we using our wealth?

Real estate, rather than an ongoing investment boom in the 10 countries under study, is attributed to this rapid rise in global wealth. Furthermore, the study offers possible explanations for the consequences that such a trend might bring with it in the future- some happy and some not so happy ones.

Read on to know more. Click here.

Posted by at 8:03 AM

Labels: Inclusive Growth


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