Rich are getting richer at rates seen in pre-independence India
Interestingly, in the three decades since India liberalised, the wealthy have got wealthier at a faster rate.
Fall & Rise
*In the last 20 years, there has been a sharp increase in the value of national wealth relative to national income.
*By 2012, wealth was worth 550-600%(or six years) of income as opposed to 350-400% at the end of the 19th century.
*Not just India, wealth seems to be accumulating faster than economic growth everywhere — China, US, Europe, Japan and Russia — irrespective of their stages of development.
WEALTH ACCUMULATION HAS THREE DRIVERS...
*Savings, asset prices and initial wealth. Part of this increase in the ratio seems to be driven by asset price inflation, especially jump in land prices.
*This means those who already own wealth are getting wealthier at a rate faster than the rest.
*In the late colonial period, wealth became as large as 6-7 years of national income (ratio of 600-700%). Between 1950 and 1980, wealth fell to3-4 years of income. It is returning to nearly 6 years of income.
NATIONAL WEALTH: Public + private wealth (land, machinery, buildings and dwellings, net foreign assets, gold & silver)
NATIONAL INCOME: Net domestic product + net factor income from abroad
NATIONAL SAVINGS: Net capital formation + net foreign investment + capital transfers from abroad
Barring a brief departure in the 1950-80 “planned” phase, the national wealth-income ratio closely tracked the private wealth-national income ratio.
Between 1950-2012, the rising national savings rate was driven by private savings rate. The public savings rate turned almost persistently negative starting in 1990s due to rising public debt since 1985.
Unsurprisingly, the private sector accounted for the increasing share of non-financial assets at the national level since 1990.