According to an Oxfam report released on Monday, wealth is getting more concentrated as it showed 62 of the world’s richest people to have wealth equivalent to that of the poorer section of the world combined. The report came at a time when the world’s business and political elites are preparing to meet in Davos for the Annual World Economic Forum.
Oxfam drew attention to the growing disparity between the rich and the poor, which has one percent of the population possessing more wealth than the rest of the 99 percent combined. It said that the richest have become 44 percent richer in the last five years with their combined wealth estimated at US$1.76 trillion (AU$2.55 trillion). This was due to a “broken” economic model defined by privatization, deregulation and financial secrecy. As per the report of the 62 richest, only nine are women.
Oxfam called for immediate action over the situation by urging world leaders to adopt a three-pronged approach, which would include stricter measures to prevent tax dodging, initiatives to increase the income levels of the poorest and proposals to increase investments in the public sector.
The report further noted that the income levels of the poorest 3.6 billion people have fallen by 41 percent, the Fairfax Media reported.
“It is simply unacceptable that the poorest half of the world population owns no more than a small group of the global super-rich – so few, you could fit them all on a single coach,” Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB Chief Executive, said in a statement. “World leaders’ concern about the escalating inequality crisis has so far not translated into concrete action to ensure that those at the bottom get their fair share of economic growth. In a world where one in nine people go to bed hungry every night, we cannot afford to carry on giving the richest an ever bigger slice of the cake.”
According to Oxfam, the ultra-rich individuals have stashed away an estimated wealth of US$7.6 trillion (AU$11.3 trillion). If they had paid tax on the income, then the governments would have an additional US$ 190 billion (AU$ 275.83 billion) every year with them.