Oxfam Says Too Much Wealth Is Concentrated In Too Few Hands
According to Oxfam, the gap between the ultra-wealthy and everybody else in the world continued to widen last year as an increasing proportion of the world’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small minority. Oxfam says that 82 per cent of all income generated last year was earned by the wealthiest 1 per cent of the global population. Contrastingly the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth at all.
A failing system
Some critics have expressed their doubts about Oxfam’s findings but the charity remains resolute that the system is failing. Oxfam blames a number of things for the disparity, ranging from tax evasion, the ability of corporations to influence policy, cost cutting and the erosion of workers rights. Sadly, Oxfam has been producing reports with similar findings for the last five years. In fact, in 2017 the charity calculated the world’s eight richest people were worth as much as the world’s poorest half combined.
This year Oxfam has revised that estimate and now says the 42 richest people on the planet control the same amount of wealth as the poorest half. It also revised its 2017 estimate up to 61 people with the charity citing improved information for the revision though it added that the trend of widening inequality continues. Oxfam released its report to coincide with last month’s World Economic Forum in Davos which is a conference that attracts the global elite.
All talk no action
Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB chief executive says that the issue of inequality typically features high on the agenda of the conference, however most of the tough talk on the topic usually fades away at the first instance of resistance. Working out how much wealth the super-rich and extremely poor have is a difficult task. The former prefers not to publicise their wealth and poor countries tend to have poor statistics.
Rethinking business models
Oxfam want’s businesses to rethink their models and is urging them to stop completely focusing on maximising shareholder return and ignoring their broader social impact. The charity says there is massive support for action, with 72 per cent of the 70,000 people it polled across ten countries saying they wanted their governments to do something immediately about the gap between the rich and the poor.
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