Inequality is worse than ever. According to a new study by Oxfam, the richest 1% received 82% of world’s wealth created in 2017, while nothing went to the poorest half (3.7 billion) of the world’s population.
Coinciding with the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Oxfam’ report shows that economic rewards were increasingly concentrated at the top of society. Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam’s executive director, told Reuters:
“The report reveals how our economies are rewarding wealth rather than the hard work of millions of people. The few at the top get richer and richer and the millions at the bottom are trapped in poverty wages.”
The report also found that three richest Americans now own the same amount as the bottom half of America’s population. While billionaire wealth rose by 13% a year from 2006-2015, ordinary workers saw their incomes rise by an average of 2% a year, it discovered.
While the number of people living in extreme poverty halved between 1990 and 2010, the average annual income of the poorest 10% rose by less than $3-a-year in the past quarter of a century, a increase in individuals’ income of less than one cent a year, the report said.
The number of people living in extreme poverty has halved between 1990 and 2010, but according to Oxfam, “had inequality within countries not grown during that period, an extra 200 million people would have escaped poverty.”
“Between 2006 and 2015, ordinary workers saw their incomes rise by an average of just 2% a year, while billionaire wealth rose by nearly 13% a year — almost six times faster,” Oxfam revealed.
The global charity, which says its report has been mocked by a ‘few’ for being ‘ideologically motivated’, is calling for an end to the era of tax havens “which is fuelling economic inequality and preventing hundreds of millions of people lifting themselves out of poverty”:
“It is simply unacceptable that the poorest half of the world’s population owns no more than a few dozen super-rich people who could fit onto one bus. World leaders’ concerns about the escalating inequality crisis have so far not translated into concrete action – the world has become a much more unequal place and the trend is accelerating.
“As much as 30% of all African financial wealth is estimated to be held offshore, costing an estimated $14 billion in lost tax revenues every year. Getting hold of the proper level of taxes will be vital if world leaders are to meet their goal, set last September, of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030.”