Monday, June 6, 2011

American Wealth & Global Poverty

by Dr. Randall Lolley

Did you see the headline, “Bottom Half Have Just 1% Of All Wealth”? The story is almost as much bad news as Christmas was good news this year. A recent report from the World Institute for Development of Economies Research of the United Nations provides some staggering statistics.

The richest 1% of the world’s population owns 40% of the world’s wealth. The richest 2% own 51%. The richest 10% own 85%. Now here is the horrible, scary part. The bottom half of the world’s people - 50% of the world’s population - own just 1% of the world’s wealth. That is 3 billion human beings virtually out of the wealth loop.

Whatever happened to human worth?

Whatever happened to basic equity?

Is it any wonder there is so little peace on earth? Hungry and sick folks have other priorities than well-fed, well-kept folks.

Consider this: $515,000 net worth (houses, land, salary, savings, retirement plans) catapult a family into the top 1% of the world’s entire population. How many people do you know who own that much or more?

The average net worth of us who are citizens of the USA is $144,000 per person. The average net worth per person worldwide is $2,200. We Americans comprise just 4.7% of the world’s population but own almost one-third (32.4%) of the world’s wealth.

How blessed are we to live in this good land! The Christmas season just past marked a period according to a variety of surveys, when the average American Christmas-season shopper spent between $775 and $875 on presents.

That is 1/3 as much as the average person on earth accumulates over a lifetime!

I am not speaking negatively about the wealth we have been able to enjoy in our country. People on the whole have worked long and hard for it. But, I do have to mention a Scriptural principle straight from the lips of our Lord’s Apostle, Paul of Tarsus: “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful to that trust.” (1 Corinthians 4:2).

What a trust ALL of us have been given; and it has come by way of amazing grace showered upon us by our Lord Jesus Christ who lived his entire earthly life among this world’s 99% at the bottom of the world’s wealth/food chain.

Randall Lolley is the current Interim Pastor of Greystone Baptist Church in Raleigh. He has pastored First Baptist Churches in Winston-Salem, Raleigh, and Greensboro, and was the former president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. This article originally appeared in Greystone's church newsletter, Greystone Today.

No comments:

Post a Comment