“wealthier”

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Oxfam presents the statistic, which is derived from data published in Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Databook (pdf), as a measure of wealth. But it’s technically a measure of net worth: assets minus debts. As such, what it’s picking up isn’t just massive inequality in wealth, but also massive inequality in the ability to access credit.
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As Felix Salmon writes, “the poorest people in the world, using the Credit Suisse methodology, aren’t in India or Pakistan or Bangladesh: they’re people like Jérôme Kerviel, who has a negative net worth of something in the region of $6 billion.”Or here’s a more political example: this measure would have counted Bill and Hillary Clinton, right after they left the White House, as among the poorest people in the world. They were, after all, millions of dollars in debt. But as Matt Yglesias wrote, you have to be pretty damn rich to get that poor. … … …

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