extreme inequality

The number of billionaires in the world doubled during the global crisis

If the richest three people spent $1 million every day, it would take 220 years to run out of money.

89113lpr Zed Nelson / Oxfam Zed Nelson / Oxfam / Oxfam

THE RICHEST 85 people in the world added a collective $668 million a day to their wealth in the last year, the charity Oxfam has found, in a report published this evening.

The study concludes that global inequality is “spiralling out of control,” as the number of billionaires has doubled during the period of the economic crisis.

In March 2009, there were 793 billionaires throughout the world, but as of March 2014, that number had rocketed to 1645.

The study also calculated that if the world’s three richest individuals – Carlos Slim, Bill Gates, and Amancio Ortega – spent $1 million every day, it would take between 172 and 220 years for their money to run out.

Mexico Slim Gates The world's two richest people: Carlos Slim (R) and Bill Gates (L) AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Today’s report constitutes the launch of a major new Oxfam campaign called “Even It Up”, which is intended to “push world leaders to turn rhetoric into reality and ensure the poorest people get a fairer deal.”

As part of that effort, the charity is calling for governments to clamp down on tax dodging, and increase taxes on large multinational corporations and the world’s richest people.

In one startling analysis, using figures on maternal deaths and healthcare spending, Oxfam has estimated that a 1.5% tax on billionaires during the crisis “could have saved 23 million lives” worldwide.

taxoxfam Oxfam Oxfam

Jim Clarken, CEO of Oxfam Ireland, also condemned the recently withdrawn Double Irish arrangement as a “toxic tax system.”

While the Double Irish was not illegal, it was certainly morally questionable and deprived this country of crucial revenue in some of our darkest days.

Scroll down to read the report in full, or if you’re viewing this on a mobile device, click here.

Read: World’s wealthiest 85 people own same amount as half the global population>

Column: It’s fanciful to think a wealth tax would make the rich leave Ireland>

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.