According to a recent study by United Nations University 2 top percent of wealthiest people control 50 percent of world assets. The study does not provide a time series perspective, but specific country data shows that Gini coeffcient measuring wealth and income inequality has been on the rise for some time.
I read and hear more and more warnings that further rise in income disparities may brign about major globalization backlash, violent examples in Frane serve as good example. But also in Asia, in India one million of well educated workers enjoy the war focr talent pay invreases, while real ewages in the remining 599 million of the labor force keep falling, and I was told at the recent conference that starving farmers commit more and more suicides.
More and more people warn that it already leads to political backlash, and the next wave of politicians may not be so suportive to the winds of globalization (see Steven Roach post as example). Keep also in mind, that all this is happening when global economy is enjoying fifth year of very strong global expansion, so things may get a lot more troublesome when growth slows, which is a must for global imbalances to stop widening.
It is high time that rich in order to secure their status in the future support policies that would prevent further income and wealth inequality, within countries and among countries. This could be best done by opening rich countries markets to food exports from poor countries and by increasing factors of production mobility (labor and knowledge in particular).