Did you say financial crisis? What crisis? Since the financial crisis the number of billionaires has more than doubled, according to Oxfam International. They has calculated that in 2014 the richest 85 people on the planet owned as much as the poorest half of humanity.
Last year the richest 85 people saw their wealth increase by half a million dollars every minute, and seven out of ten people live in countries where the gap between the rich and poor is worse than thirty years ago.
Today there are 16 billionaires in sub-Saharan Africa, alongside the 358 million people living in extreme poverty. Every year, 100 million people are pushed into poverty because they have to pay for health care.
The executive Director of Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima released the new report «Richest 1% will own more than all the rest by 2016» yesterday, and she says;
Extreme inequality isn`t just a moral wrong. We know that it hampers economic growth and it threatens the private sector`s bottom line.
The combined wealth of the richest 1 percent will overtake that of the other 99 percent of people next year unless the current trend of rising inequality is checked. Oxfam warned today ahead of the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.
Byanyima will use her position at Davos to call for urgent action to stem this 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.
Wealth; Having it all and wanting more; a research paper published yesterday by Oxfam, shows that the richest 1 percent have seen their share of global wealth increase from 44 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2014 and at this rate will be more than 50 percent in 2016. Members of this global elite had an average wealth of $2.7 million per adult in 2014.
Of the remaining 52 percent of global wealth, almost all (46 percent) is owned by the rest of the richest fifth of the world’s population. The other 80 percent share just 5.5 percent and had an average wealth of $3,851 per adult – that’s 1/700th of the average wealth of the 1 percent.
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said: “Do we really want to live in a world where the one percent own more than the rest of us combined?
Twenty percent of billionaires have interests in the financial and insurance sectors, a group which saw their cash wealth increase by 11 percent in the 12 months to March 2014. These sectors spent $550 million lobbying policy makers in Washington and Brussels during 2013. During the 2012 US election cycle alone, the financial sector provided $571 million in campaign contributions.
Billionaires listed as having interests in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors saw their collective net worth increase by 47 percent. During 2013, they spent more than $500 million lobbying policy makers in Washington and Brussels.
Oxfam is concerned that the lobbying power of these sectors is a major barrier in the way of reforming the global tax system and of ensuring intellectual property rules do not lead to the world’s poorest being denied life saving medicines.
Pope Francis and Christine Lagarde (IMF) are among those warning that rising inequality will damage the world economy if left unchecked, while the theme of Thomas Piketty`s best selling book «Capital» was the drift back towards late 19th century levels of wealth concentration.
Oxfam made headlines at Davos last year with the revelation that the 85 richest people on the planet have the same wealth as the poorest 50 percent (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.
It`s not easy to be rich. Like Jack Ma (Alibaba) said; If you own 1 million you are the luckiest man in the world. If you own 100 million you got headache. If you own 1 billion you have a huge responsibility for the society. Most of the rich end up being philanthropists.
World Economic forum in Davos starts tomorrow.
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