A NEW REPORT by Oxfam has found that a tiny elite owns the wealth of half of the world’s population.
The report, entitled “Working for the few” shows that 85 of the world’s richest people own the same amount of wealth as half the world’s population.
The report was released ahead of this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to highlight that economic inequality is rapidly increasing in most countries and is now a threat to democracy, states Oxfam.
The reports finds that the combined wealth of Europe’s 10 richest people exceeds the total cost of stimulus measures implemented across the European Union between 2008 and 2010 and that 400 of the richest Americans have more wealth than the 150 million citizens who comprise the poorest half of the population.
CEO Jim Clarken of Oxfam Ireland said that global wealth and power is becoming increasingly concentrated in a small number of people, adding that “we are increasingly living in a world where the lowest tax rates, the best health and education and the opportunity to influence are being given not just to the rich but also their children”.
In too many countries economic growth already amounts to little more than a ‘winner takes all’ windfall for the richest,” he said.
Clarken called on global leaders in Davos to pledge to tackle inequality and to stimulate growth and economic progress for the many, not just the elite few.
“The Irish government can tackle inequality by cracking down on financial secrecy and tax dodging, investing in universal education and healthcare, and agreeing a global goal to end extreme inequality as part of the post-2015 negotiations on a new development framework,” Clarken said.