Who has absolute wealth

A few weeks ago the first Wealth Handbook was presented in the Vienna AK, here is an excerpt from the contrast blog (kontrast.at). A current study by the Chamber of Labor on the distribution of wealth shows: The top 1% in Austria owns around 40% of total wealth. This number was appalling, only the debate quickly ended again.


In view of its immense effects on our society and democracy, the issue of distribution should be at the center. In the “Wealth Handbook”, wealth inequality is now also examined under the microscope in terms of democratic politics. What it shows: Wealth is male and the lobby against wealth taxation is more powerful than expected.


534 billion in the hands of a percent
In this sense, the new results of the AK study show that the top 1% does not own 25%, as is often assumed, but around 40% of the total wealth in Austria. In contrast, the poorer half of Austrians only account for 2.5% of their wealth. In absolute terms, this means that the richest percent have an average net worth of 14 million euros per household. In total, that amounts to around 534 billion euros.


The richest 1% owns 40.2% of the property


Who will get rich?
According to the latest projections, there should be 36 billionaires and 148,000 millionaires in Austria - but who are these wealthy people actually? It is known from other studies that the class position in particular is a decisive factor in explaining wealth. Above all, entrepreneurs with employees (including entrepreneurs in agriculture) and highly qualified managers are wealthy.

One might argue that this is only fair, as they built their own company and created jobs and are at high risk. However, we know that large company holdings are often inherited. In addition, the board members of the ATX companies currently earn 51 times the median income of their employees in their respective companies. Whether they actually carry a risk 51 times as high is at least worth discussing: While Plato once proposed a ratio of 4: 1, a limit of 12: 1 was recently voted in Switzerland.

Inheritances and gifts are generally the main cause of the high wealth inequality in Austria: While the lower half of the population almost exclusively inherits small amounts of money, there are many households among the very rich who inherit a business or other real estate in addition to the money and their place of residence to get. Whoever has is given.

Wealth is seldom a result of great personal achievement, but rather depends on the family into which one is born. A closer look, however, shows that even in a wealthy family, the chances are not completely evenly distributed: Although women inherit more often than men due to their higher life expectancy, they often inherit smaller sums. As a result, at the top, men have more than twice as much wealth as women. Wealth is - a few exceptions confirm the rule - primarily male.


Taxing inheritance millions would bring in 500 million
In order to counteract this trend, a well-redistributing welfare state is needed. In Austria this redistributes heavily. However, the wealthy make an ever smaller contribution, especially when measured against their possibilities. Inheritance and assets are hardly taxed in Austria, which is rather unusual in an international context. An inheritance tax of one million euros or more would only affect the richest percent of the population. According to calculations, one could earn 500 million euros annually.


Who inherits how much in Austria?