‘Obscene’ for so much wealth to be in hands of so few, says charity director Winnie Byanyima.
The gap between the super-rich and the poorest half of the world’s population is starker than previously thought, with just eight men, including Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, owning as much wealth as 3.6 billion people, according to an analysis by Oxfam released Monday.
Presenting its findings on the dawn of the annual gathering of the global political and business elites in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, anti-poverty organisation Oxfam says the gap between the very rich and poor is far greater than just a year ago. It’s urging leaders to do more than pay lip-service to the problem.
If not, it warns, public anger against this kind of inequality will continue to grow and lead to more seismic political changes akin to last year’s election of Donald Trump as US president and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
“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,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, who will be attending the meeting in Davos. “Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy.”
The same report a year earlier said that the richest 62 people on the planet owned as much wealth as the bottom half of the population. However, Oxfam has revised that figure down to eight following new information gathered by Swiss bank Credit Suisse.
Gates, Buffet, Bloomberg among richest
Oxfam used Forbes’ billionaires list that was last published in March 2016 to make its headline claim.
THE RICH LIST
Bill Gates, Microsoft founder
Amancio Ortega, founder of fashion house Inditex
Warren Buffett, financier
Carlos Slim Helu, Mexican business magnate
Jeff Bezos, Amazon boss
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook creator
Larry Ellison, Oracle founder
Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York