By Joseph A. Giannone
NEW YORK - The rich grew richer last year, even as the world endured the worst recession in decades.
A stock market rebound helped the world's ranks of millionaires climb 17 percent to 10 million, while their collective wealth surged 19 percent to $39 trillion, nearly recouping losses from the financial crisis, according to the latest Merrill Lynch-Capgemini world wealth report.
Stock values rose by half, while hedge funds recovered most of their 2008 losses, in a year marked by government stimulus spending and central bank easing.
This is not just in the United States:
The fastest growth in wealth took place in India, China and Brazil, some of the hardest hit markets in 2008. Wealth in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific soared to record highs.
Asia's millionaire ranks rose to 3 million, matching Europe for the first time, paced by a 4.5 percent economic expansion.
Asian millionaires' combined wealth surged 31 percent to $9.7 trillion, surpassing Europe's $9.5 trillion.
The United States was home to the most millionaires in 2009 — 2.87 million — followed by Japan with 1.65 million, Germany with 861,000, and China with 477,000.
It was the best of times (for wealthy investors) and the worst of times (for working people).
It's bigger then the United States. Transnational capital dominates the world and the governments of the world.
It's a long struggle with much work to be done.
Update I: What Should Be Done? How can we change this?
Tony Benn, former Labor MP in the United Kingdom, tells the Story of Democracy.
Tony Benn discusses the history of democracy, how it has been undermined and how it can be won again.
This is from 2007:
Tony Benn: "Use it or lose it. There is never a final victory for democracy." Democracy means "people power."