Oxfam: Eight men own the wealth of half the world’s population

16.01.2017 - London, United Kingdom - Tony Robinson

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Oxfam: Eight men own the wealth of half the world’s population
Members of the Shining Mothers group, a community-based women's group helping to teach business skills and raise awareness of their rights. The Shining Mothers discuss issues which affect them in their community and raise these at public meetings to ensure their voice is being heard by local government. Kawangware, Nairobi, Kenya. 2016. (Image by Allan Gichigi/Oxfam)

In a report published today to coincide with the Davos meeting of the world’s elite in the Swiss skiing resort, it was revealed that 8 men: Bill Gates (USA, Microsoft), Amancio Ortega (Spain, Inditex fashion group), Warren Buffett (USA, Berkshire Hathaway), Carlos Slim Helú (Mexico, Grupo Carso),  Jeff Bezos (USA, Amazon), Mark Zuckerberg (USA, Facebook), Larry Ellison (USA, Oracle) and Michael Bloomberg (USA, Bloomberg news), control between them the wealth equivalent to that of 3.6 billion of the world’s poorest people.

Oxfam said on launching the report:

“New estimates show that just eight men own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world. As growth benefits the richest, the rest of society – especially the poorest – suffers. The very design of our economies and the principles of our economics have taken us to this extreme, unsustainable and unjust point. Our economy must stop excessively rewarding those at the top and start working for all people. 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.”

Among the issues that the report highlights are:

• Since 2015, the richest 1% has owned more wealth than the rest of the planet.
• Eight men now own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world.
• Over the next 20 years, 500 people will hand over $2.1 trillion to their heirs – a sum larger than the GDP of India, a country of 1.3 billion people.
• The incomes of the poorest 10% of people increased by less than $3 a year between 1988 and 2011, while the incomes of the richest 1% increased 182 times as much.
• A FTSE-100 CEO earns as much in a year as 10,000 people in working in garment factories in Bangladesh.
• In the US, new research by economist Thomas Piketty shows that over the last 30 years the growth in the incomes of the bottom 50% has been zero, whereas incomes of the top 1% have grown 300%.
• In Vietnam, the country‟s richest man earns more in a day than the poorest person earns in 10 years.

The full report can be found on Oxfam’s website here.

If any more evidence were required to highlight that the current economic system isn’t fit for purpose, then surely this is it.

Categories: Economics, International
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