Ths morning the beer in my pint glass was saying that one of the problems with the world is poverty and how its all unbalanced. Maybe she's right, but I reckon in the great scheme of things, the world is more balanced and the gap between rich and poor in the world is smaller than its ever been in recorded history. In measures of both relative and absoluteness.
And here goes my reasoning...
This wikipedia article lists the richest / most wealthy historical figures, its worked out using economics witchcraft and a the percentage of their nation's wealth that they possess.
The top ten list goes from Tsar Nicholas II with 2.704 Trillion $USD (adjusted with inflation) to Caesar Basil II of the Roman (Byzantine) Empire with 172.5 Billion $USD (as adjusted). No one currently living has been richer than anyone in the top ten. The closest you get is Bill Gates, who at his peak had 110 Billion $USD and now has around half that. And out of the top ten the most recent to pass away was Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII with 252 Billion $USD.
The richest living person right now has about 60 Billion $USD, so the gap between richest and poorest now is orders of magnitude lower than it's peak in recorded history. The poor and oppressed are still poor and oppressed, but the very richest are getting poorer.