Eight individuals, all of which are men, have as much wealth as the poorest half of the population around the globe, according to Oxfam, the international charitable organization.
According to Reuters, Oxfam issued a report Monday (Jan. 16), as the rich meet at this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, highlighting the fact that the wealth gap is wider than ever before, with data from China and India showing the poorest people in the world own less than had previously been thought. Oxfam said that the wealth gap is “obscene” and that, if the data had been available in the past, it would have revealed that, last year, nine people owned the same as 3.6 billion poor people, instead of the previous estimate of 62 people. What’s more, in 2010, it took the combined assets of the 43 richest people in the world to equal the wealth of half the poorest people in the world.
“We see a lot of hand-wringing, and clearly, Trump’s victory and Brexit gives that new impetus this year, but there is a lack of concrete alternatives to business as usual,” Max Lawson, Oxfam’s head of policy, said in the Reuters report. “There are different ways of running capitalism that could be much, much more beneficial to the majority of people.”
In the report, the charity called for officials to crack down on tax dodging by the wealthy and to move away from shareholder capitalism whereby the payout goes to the rich. Reuters noted that the super-rich have seen their wealth increase, on average, 11 percent annually since 2009. Take Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, for one example. Reuters noted his fortune has increased by 50 percent since announcing he was leaving Microsoft in 2006. And that’s with Gates giving away a lot of his wealth.