Why Asia-Pacific’s glut of millionaires may be no reason to cheer


income inequalityI’m not sure how much anyone in the Asia-Pacific region should be cheering Capgemini’s World Wealth Report, which indicates that it now has more US dollar millionaires than North America. Just by a fraction, mind –the Asia-Pacific region has 4.69 million; North America has 4.68 million.

Together, these people have $15.8 trillion now, says the report. Their group grew at the rate of 8.5 per cent last year (in terms of the number of people who joined the club). Their total wealth grew by 11.4 per cent in 2014.

Some might think this is a sign of  the vibrance of the Asia-Pacific region and that opportunities are being taken with the right level of good judgement and risk management. Some might even think the rise of millionaires in the East indicates that the process of leveling is underway.

Well, think again.

Consider this particular bit of Capgemini’s report:

They advise wealth management firms to get in on the action because “over the next 15 years, wealth transfer to the next generation could involve 80 per cent of all regional wealth.”

So, no redistributive justice then? Or appropriate levels of wealth tax to make society more equal?