Just eight people in the world possess half of the world’s wealth, while 3.6 billion people, who make up the poorest half of humanity, have the same amount of funds.
Half of the world’s wealth is in possession of only eight people – they have the same amount of funds as 3.6 billion people in the world, who make up the poorest half of humanity, a new report of Oxfam, an international association of organizations, dealing with the problem of poverty, reveals. The final report shows that in comparison with the last year, the gap between rich and poor people has increased. According to the forecast of experts, the first dollar trillionaire may appear already in 25 years.
“It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day. Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy,” Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said.
According to him, wages all over the world are being reduced, while heads of the so-called business empires get million dollar bonuses.
“Their [ordinary people’s] health and education services are cut while corporations and the super-rich dodge their taxes; their voices are ignored as governments sing to the tune of big business and a wealthy elite,” Byanyima noted.
According to the researchers, the report shows that the current economy contributes to concentration of wealth in hands of the elite, which is enriching at the expense of the poorest people of the planet, the most part of whom is represented by women. The material status of the most affluent people is so great and continues to grow so rapidly that the first dollar trillionaire will appear in 25 years.
“To put this figure in perspective – you would need to spend $1 million every day for 2738 years to spend $1 trillion,” the report reads.
The report notes that dissatisfaction with the inequality has already led to a number of high-profile political events, such as the Donald Trump’s election victory in the US, the coming to power of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, and Brexit in the UK. Between 1988 and 2011, incomes of the poorest 10 percents of the population increased by only $ 65 per person, while incomes of the wealthiest 1 percent of the population – by $11,800 (182 times more).
According to Oxfam, the list of the richest people consists mainly of US citizens. There are only two representatives of other countries, Spain and Mexico, among them. The three wealthiest persons in the world are represented by Microsoft founder Bill Gates (US, net worth – $75 billion), Inditex founder Amancio Ortega (Spain, net worth – $67 billion), and CEO and largest shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett (US, net worth – $60.8 billion).
They are followed by owner of Grupo Carso, Carlos Slim Helu (Mexico, net worth – $50 billion), founder and chief executive of Amazon, Jeff Bezos (US, net worth – $45.2 billion), co-founder and chief executive officer of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg (US, net worth – $44.6 billion), co-founder and CEO of Oracle, Larry Ellison (US, net worth – $43.6 billion), and founder, owner and CEO of Bloomberg LP, Michael Bloomberg (US, net worth – $40 billion).
Oxfam pointed out that world’s governments can take steps to normalize the balance. For this, it is needed to raise taxes on material status and high incomes, as well as to establish funds for investment in health service, education and job creation.
In addition, authorities need to support companies that take care not only about their shareholders, but also about welfare of their employees and the whole society. As an example, the researchers point out the multi-billion Mondragon company, where responsible executives cannot have a salary, which would be 9 times more than the minimum salary of an employee.
The research was made ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, which will be held from 17 to 20 January.