"According to the UN by the mid 1990s the net worth of the 358 richest people in the world was then found to be equal to the combined income of the poorest 45 per cent of the worlds population - 2.3 billion people. The world's 200 richest people more than doubled their net worth in the 4 years to 1998, to more than $1 trillion, so that the assets of the world's top three billionaires were more than the combined GNP of all least developed countries and their 600 million people.... The share of the national income taken by the top 1 percent of income earners in the US more than doubled between 1980 and 2000 while that of the top 0.1 percent more than tripled. The income of the 99th percentile rose 87 percent between 1972 and 2001 while that of the 99.9th percentile rose 497 percent. In 1985 the combined wealth of the Forbes 400 richest people in the US was $238 billion with an average net worth of $600 million, adjusted for inflation. By 2005, their average net worth was $2.8 billion and their collective assets amounted to $1.13 trillion - more than the GDP of Canada. Much of this shift has been due to rapidly rising rates of executive compensation. In 1980, the average chief executive made about $1.6 million a year in today's dollars but by 2004 this had risen to $7.6 million." (p. xi, Intro to the 2006 Verso Edition)I quoted an extract of Harvey's figure on a reddit thread and received this reply from mrhymer:
"Wealth is not a finite pool that all humans pull from. There is no evidence that if the millionaire in Dubai releases his wealth back into the wild that it will ever find the hand of the poor man in Bangladesh. So studies highlighting the gaps and distributions are foolish post hoc, ergo proctor hoc arguments."For a more detailed outline of Harvey's views where he does connect the increasing of wealth disparity with the evolution of the capitalist economy into neo liberalism try this interview. I don't agree with all of Harvey but his analysis of the effects of neo liberalism seems sound to me.