Richest 1% Will Own More Than All The Rest By 2016

LONDON – The combined wealth of the richest 1% will overtake that of the other 99% of people next year, according to a report published today by Oxfam International, a foundation that says it’s dedicated to creating lasting solutions to poverty injustices.

         “Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More,” shows the richest 1% have seen their share of global wealth increase from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014, and, at this rate, will be more than 50% in 2016.

         The Oxfam report, released ahead of the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, shows the global elite had an average wealth of $2.7 million per adult in 2014.

         Oxfam warns the explosion in inequality is holding back the fight against global poverty at a time when 1 in 9 people do not have enough to eat and more than a billion people still live on less than $1.25-a-day.

         “Extreme inequality isn't just a moral wrong,” Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam’s executive director and co-chair of the Davos event, said. “We know that it hampers economic growth and it threatens the private sector's bottom line.”

         Byanyima said she would use her position at Davos to call for urgent action to stem the rising tide of inequality, starting with a crackdown on tax dodging by corporations, and to push for progress towards a global deal on climate change.

         Oxfam’s report shows 80% of the world population shares just 5.5% of global wealth and had an average wealth of $3,851 per adult – that’s 1/700th of the average wealth of the 1%.

“Do we really want to live in a world where the one percent own more than the rest of us combined?” Byanyima asked. “The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering and despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast.”

          “In the past 12 months we have seen world leaders from President Obama to Christine Lagarde talk more about tackling extreme inequality but we are still waiting for many of them to walk the walk,” she said. “It is time our leaders took on the powerful vested interests that stand in the way of a fairer and more prosperous world.

         Oxfam made headlines at Davos last year with their revelation that the 85 richest people on the planet have the same wealth as the poorest 50% (3.5 billion people). That figure is now 80 – a dramatic fall from 388 people in 2010. The wealth of the richest 80 doubled in cash terms between 2009-14.

         Oxfam is calling on governments to adopt a seven-point plan to tackle inequality:

 

• Clamp down on tax dodging by corporations and rich individuals

• Invest in universal, free public services such as health and education

• Share the tax burden fairly, shifting taxation from labor and consumption towards capital and wealth

• Introduce minimum wages and move towards a living wage for all workers

• Introduce equal pay legislation and promote economic policies to give women a fair deal

• Ensure adequate safety nets for the poorest, including a minimum income guarantee

• Agree on a global goal to tackle inequality

 

         Oxfam will hold a joint symposium today called “Rising Inequality in the Global South with Oxford University.” Speakers include Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Chief Executive Officer of E.L. Rothschild and chairman of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism.

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