As the global elite descend upon Davos for the World Economic Forum to rub elbows, Oxfam released a report today which it introduced in this way:
It details how big business and the super-rich are fueling the inequality crisis by dodging taxes, driving down wages and using their power to influence politics. It calls for a fundamental change in the way we manage our economies so that they work for all people, and not just a fortunate few.
Last year in its report, OXFAM figured that 62 people owned the same wealth as “the poorest half of the planet,” but this year more data became available. Had this data been available last year, it would have shown that 9 men owned as much as the poorest half of the planet. Now it’s down to just 8:
- Bill Gates
- Amancio Ortega
- Warren Buffett
- Carlos Slim
- Jeff Bezos
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Larry Ellison
- Michael Bloomberg.
The press release continues:
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.
Across the world, people are being left behind. Their wages are stagnating yet corporate bosses take home million dollar bonuses; their 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.
And in its detailed 48-page report (PDF), Oxfam dives into the inequalities and their causes. Four years ago, according to the report, the World Economic Forum identified rising economic inequality as a major threat to social stability, and the global elite sighed up sanctimoniously to lower inequality. Yet since then, “the gap between the rich and the rest has widened.”
Our question is when we will say enough!