Egalitarians be warned: wealth begets wealth | Torsten Bell


New research from Sweden reveals that good genes don’t make you a success but family money, or marrying into it, does

Wealth matters in 21st-century Britain, in part because there’s lots of it around. British household wealth was three times GDP in the 1970s. It’s seven times today. Falling interest rates are the main cause, pushing up prices of existing assets. Resolution Foundation research shows the result is bigger pounds and pence gaps between the richest and poorest 10th of households, which increased by £400,000 since the mid-2000s to £1.4m. With these gaps being many times even high incomes, you can’t earn your way to being wealthy – you have to marry wealth or be born with it.

Even ignoring inheritances, evidence shows those with wealthy parents tend to be wealthier. Why? Well there are eugenicists out there who think wealthy families produce successful children because “one is the subject of one’s genes”. But thanks to recent research from Sweden, we can politely put that nonsense to bed.

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