In case you needed another reminder of the stark wealth gap between the top 1 percent and rest of the global population, Oxfam has released a new report claiming just eight billionaires — all men, interestingly — control the same wealth between them as the poorest 50 percent of the world.
In order to address the disturbing economic equality and the dangerous concentration of wealth, the anti-poverty charity released the damning analysis just in time for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
In its analysis, the organization called for a new economic model that would reverse the “beyond grotesque” inequality trend.
“From Brexit to the success of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, a worrying rise in racism and the widespread disillusionment with mainstream politics, there are increasing signs that more and more people in rich countries are no longer willing to tolerate the status quo,” the authors wrote. “Why would they, when experience suggests that what it delivers is wage stagnation, insecure jobs and a widening gap between the haves and the have-nots? The challenge is to build a positive alternative — not one that increases divisions.”
Here are the eight super-rich who own just as much money as poorest half (almost 3.6 billion) of the humanity:
1. Bill Gates (Microsoft): net worth $75 billion
2. Amancio Ortega (Zara fashion chain): net worth $67 billion
3. Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway): net worth $60.8bn
4. Carlos Slim Helu (Grupo Carso): net worth $50 billion
5. Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com): net worth $45.2 billion
6. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook): net worth $44.6 billion
7. Larry Ellison (Oracle): net worth $43.6 billion
8. Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg LP): net worth $40 billion
Oxfam blamed the dangerous concentration of wealth on tax dodging, squeezing of workers and producers, aggressive wage restraint, crony capitalism and the role of the elite in politics.
“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,” said the report. “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.”
The research study also showed that since 2015, the richest 1 percent has owned more wealth than the rest of the planet and over the next two decades, 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.”
Moreover, the income of the poorest 10 percent increased by less than $3 a year between 1988 and 2011, while the incomes of the richest 1 percent increased 182 times as much.
Look at it this way: While millions of people across the world are struggling to fulfill their basic necessities, the other half of the global wealth is concentrated in the hands of mere eight people.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters