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8 people are as rich as half of humanity, Oxfam says

We live in an unfair world, where eight men own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population. Everything you need to know about Oxfam’s latest report.

We’re living in an ever unfairer and more divided world. It’s like a mantra, a phrase repeated by economists, academics and humanitarian organisations over and over again. Yet, it could also be perceived as an abstract sentence. So here’s its translation: 8 people are as wealthy as the poorest half of humanity – 3.6 billion people. This is the upsetting reality depicted by Oxfam annual report – An Economy for the 99% – published on the dawn of the World Economic Forum.

Wealth is in the hands of 1 per cent of the population

1 per cent of the world population has more wealth than the remaining 99 per cent. Year after year, the gap in the distribution of wealth has become clearer and deeper. Between 1988 and 2011, the income of the poorest 10 per cent of humanity has increased by less than 3 dollars per year. Instead, the income of the wealthiest 1 per cent has increased 182-fold.

According to Oxfam, the trend isn’t likely to be reversed soon. Indeed, “the very design of our economies and the principles of our economics have taken us to this extreme, unsustainable and unjust point,” reads the report. Over the next 25 years, 500 people will pass on to their heirs 2,100 billion dollars, an amount higher than India’s GDP. At this rate, in 25 years we could see the first trillionaire, i.e. the first person that alone owns more than a trillion dollars.

 

The recipe for a fairer world

At the root of such an unfair society is an unfair taxation, lobbies’ political weight, the hurdles to female economic empowerment, and many other structural problems. “Basic public services including healthcare and education are being cut, but multinationals and the wealthiest get away with evading tax. The voice of the 99% of the population remains unheard because governments demonstrate their inability of fighting inequality, continuing doing the interests of the wealthiest 1%,” said Roberto Barbieri, General Director at Oxfam Italy. However, there’s a way out. According to Oxfam, it’s time to change out path and build an economy that includes the 99 per cent of the world population, not only privileged people. How? “Accountable and visionary governments, businesses that work in the interests of workers and producers, a valued environment, women’s rights and a strong system of fair taxation, are central to this more human economy”.

 

Featured image: Triloks/Getty Images
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