A new Oxfam report has revealed a truly obscene statistic about the global distribution of wealth: the number of people whose wealth is equal to that of the poorest half of the world’s population can now fit on a yacht.
For emphasis: 62 ultra-rich people own the same collective wealth as 3.6 billion super poor people.
Try to tune out all the facts of staggering inequality you’ve become desensitized to by now and just consider that ratio for a second – it’s genuinely insane. It’s like John Locke forgot to add “by a few dozen old white men” after he famously said “all wealth is the product of labour.”
A sure sign that trickle-down economics is a scam, Oxfam’s Policy Director Gawain Kripke could only refer to the findings as “terrible,” and that “no one credible will say this is good for the world or good for the economy.”
Just five years ago, 388 of the world’s richest people possessed the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the global population. In another five, it’s very well possible that Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, the Koch Brothers and the Walmart heirs alone will control that share.
Oxfam’s report was released a day before the global business and political elite meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where they will deliberate on how the Rich 62 can improve on their 44 per cent growth in wealth since 2010.
It highlights three keys to tackling the inequality crisis – cracking down on tax dodging, increased investment in public services and action to boost the income of the lowest paid – and called upon urgent action from world leaders. This, of course, is a much more complex approach than what the super-rich would prescribe, which is for the peasants to simply “work harder.”
The severe concentration of wealth at the top is the exact reason why those at the bottom find it increasingly difficult to climb out of poverty, which contributes to political instability, adverse effects on health, and unhealthy economies.
“It is no longer good enough for the richest to pretend that their wealth benefits the rest of us when the facts show that the recent explosion in the wealth of the super-rich has come at the expense of the poorest,” says Oxfam GB Chief Executive Mark Goldring.