Thursday, March 14, 2013

Philippine Wealth Concentration

The poorest people in the Philippines are poorer than most Americans can understand. Close to 20% live on less than fifty pesos ($1.25) per day. There are desperately poor people in the US and other developed countries, of course, but not so many and not so poor.

Meanwhile, the wealthy control an enormous portion of the nation’s wealth.

The richest person in the US is, as you know, Bill Gates, who has a fortune estimated at $66 billion, according to Forbes, which is considerably more than that of Henry Sy, the richest in the Philippines -- Sy has $9.1 billion.

But in reference to the size of their home economies, Sy is far richer. Sy’s fortune equals 3.8% of the GDP of the Philippines, while Gates is good for just under 0.5% of US GDP. In fact, relative to GDP, the top eleven fortunes in the Philippines are all bigger than Gates’.


  1. I have been trying to explain this to people, but it's impossible to understand without actually seeing it.

  2. I don't see how you could explain to an American how poor people are here. Growing up, I never saw anything worse than Phoenix's slums or a couple times I was in Mexican border towns. But that's not even close.

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