A new study led by Oxfam International, an advocacy group fighting against world poverty and related injustice, found that, by 2016, 1 percent of the world’s population would own more than 50 percent of the global wealth, leaving the rest of 99 percent to share the rest.
The study also shows that six years ago the wealthiest 1 percent owned 44 percent of economic wealth, while in 2014 their combined wealth reached a record-breaking 48 percent.
Oxfam chose to publish their study January 19, two days before the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. This meeting attracts about 2,500 business and political leaders, journalists, and analysts around the world to discuss very pressing issues affecting world economy, including environmental and health related problems.
During this year’s meeting, Winnie Byanyima, director of Oxfam, will co-chair the event. Ms. Byanyima promised that she would make use of her position to lobby for narrowing the “staggering” gap between rich and poor.
She also told reporters during a news conference that it was the time our leaders opposed “the powerful vested interests” blocking the way towards “a fairer and more prosperous world.” Ms. Byanyima also explained that if leaders failed to tackle the inequality between the rich and poor, everyone would suffer: the poor for being hurt twice by the extreme inequality, and the rich because they would have a smaller wealth pie to feast on, if the poor stopped buying their products.
The new study was based on data gathered by Credit Suisse during a 15-year-long survey on global wealth distribution.
Critics of the study said that according to Oxfam the wealthiest 1 percent also include people who own assets, mainly property and land, worth of $755 million or more. Additionally, the Oxfam team used data gathered from 2010 and 2014, when the wealth of the richest 1 percent rose every year, instead of including previous data which showed that that wealth fell every year.
At Davos, Oxfam plans to pursue governments to take urgent measures against inequality, such as tackling tax evasion by multinationals and promoting a decent wage for all workers.
Last year at Davos, Oxfam shocked the world by reporting that 85 people on the planet owned together the same amount of wealth as 3.5 billion people (about 50 percent of world population). This year, the gap is even wider with 80 people owning the same wealth as 50 percent of the world population.
Image Source: Baomoi