The media and academic obsessions with economic "disparities" have gone international. Recent news stories proclaim that most of "the world's wealth" belongs to a small fraction of the world's people.
Let's go back to square one. Just what is "the world's wealth"?
You can check in your local phone book, surf the Internet or do genealogical research: There is no one named "The World." How can a non-existent being own wealth?
Human beings own wealth. Once we put aside lofty poetic nonsense about "the world's wealth," we at least have a fighting chance of talking sense about realities.
Who are these minority of the world's population who own a majority of the world's wealth?
They are the population of the United States, Western Europe, Japan and a few other affluent countries. How did these particular people come to possess so much more wealth than other people?
They did it the old-fashioned way. They produced the wealth that they own. You might as well ask why bees have so much more honey than other creatures.
The rhetoric of clever people can verbally collectivize all the wealth that was produced individually, and then they become aghast at the "disparities" that are magically turned into "inequities" in the distribution of "the world's wealth."
Update: Gagdad Bob has an outstanding reflection inspired by Sowell's article.